Your Story Matters.
Write your story. Even if it just helps one person, your impact could change a life.
I live in a small town. It’s quiet, safe, and cozy despite a lot of conservative politics, and I’m pretty grateful to be able to live somewhere like it. The only thing is, nothing really ever happens and what does happen, I’m accustomed to. Whenever I’m in a big city, I look in all the windows of apartment buildings. On some of the fire escapes, there are plastic chairs. Some people have towels hanging lazily and precariously over the sides. Others have leafy plants hanging down, threatening to fall on the passerby below or their lower neighbor’s balcony. It seems kind of self-centered not to think this, but it’s like… people have their own lives!
It’s so easy to get swept up into the tide of our own life that we don’t even notice the expanse of the ocean around us. These kinds of thoughts also happen to pop into my brain when I’m in the car. I have tunnel vision when I drive, so when I’m a passenger I get to enjoy looking at all the scenery on the sides of the highway. Sometimes we drive past cities. Other times, there are just some houses or farms lining the side of the highway. Mostly, though, there are just other cars and road lines. It’s weird to think about, but all the people in all these places have their own huge stories. Where are they headed so fast that the person in that SUV just sped past at 30 miles above the speed limit? How about that dilapidated house that only had an old woman standing outside? What’s her story? All these lives are moving, changing, starting, ending, collapsing, and restarting, but we’re mostly caught up in our own. How could we not be?
What I’m trying to say is that when we see things from our own perspective all the time, we lose a fundamental part of the human experience. We tend to see our world as the world and discount others’ views, even if subconsciously. Learning about the experiences of others is one of the most valuable and useful tools to get insight into what makes people act the way they do. You might be saying to yourself, “yeah, the extraordinary stories are worth hearing, but I…