Today I experienced one of those moments that really makes you stop to appreciate how far you’ve come and be genuinely grateful for that moment.
After a long day at work (okay so it wasn’t THAT long – I shouldn’t be complaining – I’m lucky I have a job) I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up a few necessities before heading home to cook dinner.
I rush through the grocery store as I normally do (I H-A-T-E the grocery store) and went to the counter with the smallest line with my modest basket of items: a bunch of bananas, three avocados, a carton of eggs and a kabocha squash. I placed them on the counter and noticed the lady and little girl in front of me had two huge containers of pastries (eclairs, donuts, croissants, etc.) from the bakery. Not judging, I assumed it was for the little girl’s party or something.
I noticed the cashier was a sweet older lady, who although slower than the younger employees, is kind and very efficient. I smile at her and look at some of the headlines on the rag mags as I wait (im)patiently for the orders in front of me to get rang in. All of a sudden I hear:
Lady: “How do you cook that?”
Me (looking up at her and following her gaze down to my produce): “The squash?”
Lady: “Yeah, what kind is that anyway?”
Me: “It’s a kabocha squash – one of my favourites…”
Lady: “Ohhh I think I’ve heard of that. How do you cook that anyway?”
Me: “I normally prepare it by microwaving it for a few minutes to get it soft enough to cut…”
Lady: “Ohh, that’s a great idea!”
Me: “Yeah it works so well! Then I chop it in two, clean it out and cut off the rinds – and then I cube it, put it on a pan with a little water and cook it for about an hour. Sometimes I put spices, but I often don’t need anything as it’s really good just as is.”
Lady: “Wow, that sounds easy enough. So what do you eat it with?”
Me: “Actually I eat it with some avocado, or use it instead of rice, pasta or bread – I put sauces on top and it goes well with a lot of different things.”
Lady: “Wow… so are you a nutritionist?”
– Pause story – I just wanted to mention that it still shocks me how much I know about food that I take for granted. I used to be in her shoes – not having any clue what half the produce on the shelves even were – let alone how to prepare them or their nutrient content. I used to struggle with food but have taught myself so much over the years. – Resume story –
Me: “No, I just know a lot about nutrition, health and fitness.”
Lady: “Oh, okay..” (stares at me)
Me: “I used to be over weight and made a huge lifestyle change – I taught myself a lot about food, nutrition and fitness.”
Lady: “Wow…Good for you, that’s a huge accomplishment.”
Me: “Aw, thank you.”
Lady: “No seriously, you glow. You have an amazing complexion and you actually glow.”
Me: (Speechless.) “Thank you, that’s really sweet of you.”
Lady: “No problem, well done and keep it up.”
Me: “Will do – thank you and take care!”
Then she pays for her pastries and leaves with her little girl.
I was on a high after that. Not to mention that a complete stranger actually SPOKE to me (it’s Vancouver, let’s face it, no one does that here) but then proceeded to tell me that I have a beautiful complexion and that my skin glows – I was blown away.
I, like most, still struggle with appreciating where I am in life. From my body/fitness to career to personal development and relationships – I always push myself to want and achieve more. I aspire for greatness in every aspect of my life. And while it keeps me busy and charging forward, I never give myself credit for how far I’ve come or believe those close to me when they remind me. I used to be that overweight, unhealthy girl who bought baked goods and had no idea what a kabocha squash was let along how to prepare it… but for a stranger to tell me that my complexion glowed was extremely motivating and humbling.
I’m going to try to make it a point to complement complete strangers more often. Instead of judging someones clothing, food or other superficial choices, remember that you have no idea where that person came from, the battles they’ve fought or are currently fighting. Instead – find something to complement them on. Their purse – accessories, hat, pants, glasses, dog, skateboard – what ever it is they made a choice to choose that part of them, and value it.
A simple complement can literally move mountains for one person. Put their choices, decisions, struggles, successes in a whole new light and provide a little sense of clarity that can only be believable when told to you by a complete stranger.