Gratitude for small misfortunes (why I’m grateful for mould)

Today I thought “I am grateful for mould”. An odd notion, perhaps, unless you’re some sort of creature that eats mould. Let me explain, though, and perhaps it won’t seem so odd.

When boyfriend and I first moved in together we found a lovely flat that, two months later, turned out to be covering all our stuff in mould. In the middle of summer. It was distressing and generally not good and we moved out as soon as we could. Because of the mould we ended up getting rid of a fair amount of items. A lot of clothes, hats, scarves, shoes, and bags particularly in my case. The issue with the mould was bad, but it planted the seed for a desire to declutter and minimalise that would resurface further down the line.

TheΒ place we moved to after that was lovely; unfortunately the landlord served notice after 3 months of our being there as he was going to sell. The place after that gave us terrible neighbours, so noisy that we moved our mattress from our bedroom into the lounge at least once a week just to get a chance at a decent sleep. We wanted to leave that place as soon as we could, it was miserable and not good for our mental health. So, when a friend of boyfriend’s who’d just bought a flat said he was moving to Portugal I immediately asked “what’s he doing with his flat?”

And here we are, living in a beautiful flat owned by a friend. When we first looked round boyfriend was sceptical “I just don’t think we can fit all our stuff in there” he said. But I knew we could, because I knew I secretly enjoyed getting rid of stuff when the mould struck. I was ready to tackle a minimalising challenge. I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying and I purged.

Here we are, the place we’ve resided the longest in Brighton. Here we are preparing to move to Manchester in exactly one month. You see, the mould put in process a whole chain of events; a string of continuous moving that made us think about, and appreciate, the notion of a home so much more than we may have if the mould had never happened. If there was no mould we may still be in that flat and our lives could be on an entirely different course.

But there was mould. There was so much moving we began to realise what we really want is our own home. Somewhere we can stay put for at least a little while. And, yes, there might be mould and maybe even neighbour issues. But we’ll tackle that if we come to it.

For now I’m realising, although it didn’t seem it at the time, the mould is something to be grateful for as we prepare to embark on a new chapter of our lives. Some misfortunes are so life-shatteringly huge that it takes a saint to find space for gratitude for them. But the little ones? Perhaps if we consider simply that in the future we might be grateful for this thing happening, it’ll help them seem less misfortunate. Perhaps…


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