Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Night is Free

Money can't buy happiness. At least that's what we are told since we are kids. Of course, back then we consider it to be a stupid saying that's supposed to teach us that human relationships are more important than material stuff, an attempt to prevent the hostile seeds of materialism from growing in our callow brains. And why should we believe it? Money can buy toys after all. And food, video games, clothes (and, boy, am I a fun of those three). As innocent as that sounds, it doesn't change much as we grow up. Travelling, expensive cars, a nice flat... Money is the bridge between us and happiness. Or at least its physical, comprehensible form.

When I arrived in Zurich I had to deal with an abundance of changes altogether. Plentiful of differences and nuances in culture and lifestyle made the two cities contrast hard with each other, making my transition to life here anything but smooth. Perhaps the most difficult part was getting used to the financial aspect of my daily life. Besides the fact that I wasn't that used to completely depending on my own income alone to live, the cost of living here is absurd compared to my hometown. Of course, the salaries are respectively over the sky, but as a foreign trainee I wasn't in the comfortable position to say that I was fully enjoying that facet of life here. It wasn't once or twice that I was told by a local that my salary was inane for a city like that.

If I could I would eat out every day, go drinking every night, I would attend every concert, and move to a big flat by my own. But my tight budget forced me to find joy in a different kind of pleasures and it wasn't long till I discovered the pure bliss that simple things had to offer. Taking a walk along the river, talking with friends I had missed, catching up to each other's lives, watching the leaves turn brown in Autumn, hear them susurrate as the wind blows, then watch them fall slowly, merge in the waves of people in busy streets and pavements, sit by the lake and watch the swans or under the shade of a big tree in a tranquil park, a walk with a friend, a late night chat, the view of sunset over mountains or cityscapes, the night sky, the smell and sound of rain. Many of these things I probably wouldn't do as much or at all if it was easier for me to just spend money to have fun. Nothing in this city made me feel as free and blessed as being outside during a chilly night with no plans or places to be, just wondering and enjoying the view, clearing my mind of worries.

Maybe this is the most adult-y thing I've said since I became an adult, and it definitely sounds cheesy, but staying here made me realise that the most beautiful things in life are free indeed. Maybe we don't think much of them because they are free and right in front of us. We tend to think that the more expensive something is, the better. That happiness comes with a cost. Alas, we don't appreciate those simple things as much as we should. And this was just a short post I decided to write hoping it will help at least someone remember. Don't neglect to enjoy the simple stuff.