It’s 7 am and the first man is looking the other way. I get a glimpse of the sun behind a large ficus tree. The birds are as close to me as they’ve ever been.
I’m out walking, like I’m doing every single day (it’s nothing new for this vacation). It’s early, before my family is up. They believe that I’m out to get them breakfast. It’s true. I’ll be back at the apartment with bread, juice, cheese and a few surprises I know they’ll appreciate. But, that’s not really why I’m outside walking.
The next one I meet is a woman in her fifties. She looks at me. She nods her head briefly, then looks at her dog. Next to her there’s a beautiful garden. The closer I get, the more I can smell them without even seeing. The red roses.
I don’t expect much while on vacation. I sure want to have fun. I want to play with my kids. I want to relax. I’d love to experience something exciting. But, I don’t expect anything. I just go with the flow. It’s not that I don’t have any plans. I do. But, I only have one rule.
The bakery is just twenty minutes away from the apartment. Today I’ve just met two people. I usually meet many more. It might be because it’s Saturday. I’m in Denmark, on the island of Bornholm, and I’m walking a completely different route. This is my first Saturday here. Now, it’s time to buy whatever I think my wife and kids would love for breakfast, and then it’s back walking – oh wait. Another man; tall, thin, grey hair, is walking my way.
And, suddenly, he smiles. He says hi. I smile. I say hi. And, that’s it. The one rule. Accomplished.
The one rule is simple. It just happened today, and so far it’s been fairly easy during the first ten minutes every single day during the vacation. I have received one (big) smile from a stranger before I have reached the bakery. The rule is that I can’t get back inside the apartment without receiving a smile from a stranger during my morning walk. So, I’ll just keep walking until I receive a smile.
You might ask why this is important? It might not be, but I really like starting the day with someone smiling at me before breakfast. It feels great. It makes the day so much better. And, it makes me think of all the things I’m greatful for, just by being alive.