Walking towards my car after visiting the Medieval Museum in Waterford this past weekend, a friend and I noticed that the rear, passenger side wheel was flat on my car. My mood deflated a little in that moment. Having just had one slow puncture fixed this past week, and not exactly being an expert at changing tyres, I had to consciously gather together handfuls of optimism until I was motivated enough to just get on with it. Thankfully:
- I had a spare tyre in the boot that was full
- There was a jack and tools there too
- I wasn’t alone
- It wasn’t raining
An older man in a suit saw us pull the tyre out of the boot and came to ask if he could help in any way. As he started loosening the tyre a couple of younger Wexford men came to join in. Not even asking if we needed help they just took the tools and said they would take care of it for us. One quickly fitted the jack while the other proceeded to remove the tyre and replace it. In under 5 minutes the tyre was replaced, the car returned to the ground and the tools were put away. I just stared in amazement and shook their hands in thanks.
While my tyre was being fixed the following day, we adventured around the area. Mount Congreve was a garden set apart with the pond lilies and hydrangea walk in full bloom, the secret garden with the pagoda set deep in its sunken floor and summer fruit ripe on the trees, just waiting to be tasted. Within view of the Metal Man we joined others in jumping into the choppy sea just before the rain returned. Through a camera lens the feeling and beauty can be captured in part. But I have yet to capture the true beauty of adventure – the friendship, strength and heart of those who invite me to explore this life with them every day.
But fundamentally, life off Earth is in two important respects not at all unworldly: You can choose to focus on the surprises and pleasures, or the frustrations. And you can choose to appreciate the smallest scraps of experience, the everyday moments, or to value only the grandest, most stirring ones. Ultimately, the real question is whether you want to be happy. ~ Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth