While sitting in Jamaica, face up towards the sun, toes occasionally scraping into the sand for a gentle exfoliation, hands around a cool chocolate martini, I began to think… “I wonder where the people who work here live? Tin shacks in the hills or nice condos closer to shore? Do people here live with their parents until they marry? Do they feel the pressure to go to college? Do they leave here and travel to the States? Do they like tourists? Are they happy?” etc. And then, of course, I reflected on my own life. And maybe I even pondered yours.
You realize, right, that your life is totally fascinating…not so much what happens to you or around you each day, but how you react to it. Totally fascinating. Perhaps predictable, too. How do you feel when you have to wait an extra hour in an airport? Totally pissed, like your life is wasting away? Like you’ve been robbed an hour at your destination? Or do you seize the opportunity to use a clean toilet, buy a bottle of water, and dive into a good book? Do you swear…or do you savor?
The little details of our lives can be so interesting. But sometimes we just don’t see them. Or hear them. When John and I were waiting for our plane to take off from Miami, there was a little girls that sat behind us with her sister. We sat awhile waiting for take off. And she sang. Like only a four year old little girl can sing. So sweet! Sometimes you only notice the little people around you when they are screaming or crying. You forget just how funny they are. We were probably all funny before we became self conscious.
Every one of us has a story to share. Every one of us is a story to share. Some days the whole plot is totally predictable. But, inevitably, there are twists and turns at some point. Some stories end too soon, some, perhaps, are too long. It is not always about the setting. It is rarely about the setting. The house can be big or small. The job can have a blue or white collar. There may be no job at all! The interesting meat…the stuff that keeps us coming back to the book…is the cast of characters. You know all this, right? But there are people in your life, lots of people. Some of them…you don’t even open their book. You decided that you didn’t like the subject before you even opened the book. We all do it. But, maybe we should all become super avid readers. Maybe we should really try to listen to each other’s stories. Maybe we should stop worrying about what WE are going to say and listen to what everyone else is saying. Ok, my kids say I have a terrible habit of listening to what others are saying (2 strangers standing in a line in front of me, for example) and then jumping into the conversation. Ok, I feel like I made 2 friends and my kids think I’m just creepy. I guess there are boundaries. But, you get what I’m saying. We are really all such interesting creatures. And we don’t always treat each other that way. We are not always interested. But, life is definitely about the people!
And so, I am sure that my house will likely stay messy. My hair will never be perfectly coifed. But, I’ll answer my emails. I’ll return a phone call (but I don’t like to talk on the phone much). I’ll meet you for breakfast, lunch, coffee, a walk, whatever. For the past few years, that’s what you’ve all done for me. If I didn’t realize it before, I sure know now, that all of you are all that matter.