If You Wake Up, It’s A Good Day (And Other Jamaican Wisdom)


“If you wake up, it’s a good day.” Even when there is more than enough reason to complain, many Jamaicans like to remind themselves that it could always be worse. It’s all about gratitude and perspective. Just being alive is reason enough to be thankful and happy, because not everyone is so lucky. That’s a pretty good motto to live by if you ask me.

“When man make a plan, God be wiping it.” Usually this is the response I get when I attempt to organise anything even slightly in advance. As much as this can be frustrating, it is undeniably true that we never have any idea what the future holds. Some use the metaphor that living life is like riding a train backwards – you can see where you have been but you can never be sure where you are going. Especially in Jamaica, where time and schedules are not really a priority – so you may as well just go with the flow!

“A rotten leaf always sinks.” I think something gets lost in the translation of this one. I’m still not entirely sure if it means that people will eventually show their true colours, or what goes around comes around. Either way, it’s true! So trust that time will always bring clarity and things will unfold as they are meant to.

“Take a hard life easy.” I was hiking up the mountain singing along to Bulletproof (with a fair amount of enthusiasm, not realising I had an audience) when someone called out to me and said they could see I was taking a hard life easy. And it seemed like the perfect way to sum everything up in that moment. There is no escaping the fact that life can be hard – sometimes you do feel like you’re climbing a mountain physically, mentally or emotionally – but since challenges are inevitable we may as well accept things as they are and try to enjoy the journey.

“One love.” On a recent visit to the Bob Marley museum the thing that struck me most was his smile. I’m not sure why I never really noticed before, but he had an incredible smile, just bursting with pure, authentic joy. He seemed to be in on something (apart from an abundant source of weed) that gave him an incredible aura of bliss. And his mantra of “one love” was surely a big part of that – he believed our differences were irrelevant because we were all deeply connected, and we should treat each other as such. It’s all about peace and love, man.


12 thoughts on “If You Wake Up, It’s A Good Day (And Other Jamaican Wisdom)

  1. Hey Catherine, you’re talking to an old hippy here. I hear you, sister!
    I’m look forward to and love every one of your blogs. Thank you for sharing such an amazing experience with us. Now I suspect you don’t like to make plans much anymore, but I see a book in this, don’t you?
    Take good care and keep writing!
    Jenny xo

  2. I think “take a hard life easy” is going to be my new life mantra! Thanks for sharing this wisdom. It was a joy to read.

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