Today was unusual in that I actually followed through on the random things I just normally think about doing. Those things that never make it out of my brain.
So I went to the gym, and I hammocked by the lake, and actually watched something on Netflix. As opposed to just flicking through until I decide I’m not actually in the mood to watch anything.
I also took a walk to the park near my house this evening. Earlier in the day I had listened to an interview on NPR (National Public Radio) with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. If that title isn’t enough to pique your interest, then keep reading.
She went on to say that many people focus on fear in life and make decisions based on those fears. However, when asked what advice she would give to other writers she simply suggested that you “follow your curiosity.”
So I took a stab at it.
Not surprisingly, it led me to many places. Even less surprising, my brain once again took a moment to contemplate the bigger things in life.
I feel like each day, with every little interaction my world gets the tiniest bit bigger.
This evening I followed a whim to take my notebook to the park. I have a consistent tendency of talking to myself aloud, so I did…the whole way there.
I crossed an elderly woman. She smiled as she approached me.
“I feels good just to walk.”
It wasn’t a question, but rather a simple statement – a statement that could have just as easily not had an audience.
I continued forward, smiling in return before agreeing with less than a handful of words. She was thin, wrinkles decorating every visible bit of her. She wore glasses, her cloud white hair settled into a pixie cut above lively eyes. She lifted something in her right hand.
It was a small collapsible, black stool.
“Just in case I need to take a break.”
It was an unusual statement, and I didn’t have an immediate response. Only after we were already a few paces past each other did I turn to say something, anything.
“Yeah, that’s a good idea.” I actually wondered for a moment if I should have a stool as well.
Then she was gone.
Equally, I was gone too.
You see, I was gone to her in just the same manner that she was gone to me. I will probably never see that woman again. It is unlikely I will ever know her name or where she lives. I assume she lives within walking distance of where we passed each other. Yet even that begs the question, what is walking distance? For all I know she walks every day, and could perhaps even out walk me.
Again, I will probably never know.
It is all a matter of perspective.
Life happens just like this around us every day, every moment, everywhere. For example, a person sitting on their couch watching Netflix is not concerned with the kid at the skate park who just wiped out practicing a new stunt. Likewise, the skateboarder isn’t even remotely aware there could possibly be a person less than half a mile away engrossed in a TV show she’s already seen.
We just don’t think about these things.
On a larger scale, an individual walking along the side walk looks up to see a plane, not the people in it. Nor do the people in the plane see a lone human walking along. They might as well not exist to each other.
Then there is the in between. It is a place that exists in reality all around us. You see time and distance do not discriminate in favor one person’s perspective. They all matter the same, or rather they don’t matter the same. Time and distance are unable to have an opinion, just as humans are unable to ever fully be free of their own. We can practice objectivity all day long, but ultimately we are more comfortable in our own shoes, so to speak.
However, that is not to say we are slaves to our personal points of view. It is possible to cultivate a broadened awareness.
True, the individual at home may not be aware of the skater, nor the skater aware of the home-stayer – they will never know the other exists, or care – but remember, there is the person walking down the sidewalk. She is aware of them both. In a sense, we are bridges one to another. We go through our entire lives connecting people, often without ever realizing it.
Think for a moment, have you ever attended a social event – a party, outing, whatever, use your imagination – where two people you thought knew each other were complete strangers. You know them both, so you introduce them. This is where relationships are formed, on these bridges of life.
My curiosity found me in between two peoples’ worlds today, considering them equally. It was a wonderful moment, however it was still a moment. I returned home to put away my laundry and stare at my teacup wishing it would put itself away, having all but forgotten about those people I encountered. I would not say it is impossible to think like this around the clock, however I will agree that it can be exhausting.
The funny thing is, you never know the impact one little interaction can have on a person’s life.
On that note: happy life to all, and to all a good night.
Until next time!