Thursday, August 23

As good as it gets

In a bus shelter on a Wednesday morning, 2 a.m.

Tell me something. We never really talk about anything.
- What do you want to know?
Well, I don't mean... facts or anything.
- You mean, like, feelings?
Yeah.
- Well, I guess that lately I've been feeling that my life doesn't serve much of a purpose. It's just not going anywhere at the moment. Nothing matters. And maybe that's a good thing, if nothing matters it doesn't matter, but...
I think it's a bad thing. You don't seem too happy with it.
- It's just not going anywhere.
But that's just in your head, right?
- ...
You can't just sit around waiting for something to come into your life and make it better, make you happy. It's in your head. You change it. Right?

By that time, my brain refused to cooperate any further. I spend minutes waiting for it to produce another thought, any thought, but there was only the vague longing for a warm bed. I went home and eleven hours of blissful sleep later, it occurred to me what I was trying to say.

Boy, you're waisting your time.

You're, say, twenty years old? A young man who doesn't look too bad, with a strong and healthy body, not missing any essential limbs or anything. Not missing any limbs whatsoever, actually. Obviously your brain works just fine too, you're studying, thinking of your future, getting somewhere. You have friends and family to support you. You're not an orphan. You're not poor. You live in one of the most prosperous and stable countries in the world. Public health care and all that. You don't have to fight, you don't have to live in fear, you never have to feel hungry. You're not blind or deaf or illiterate. You have talents and you have been given the opportunity to use and develop them. Are you getting my drift? Because I could go on like this for hours.

That's you. That's both of us. How many of those 6.6 billion other people are as lucky as we are? Not that much. Millions of people wish they were in our shoes. For us it's just everyday life. We don't think about our luck. We're not as happy as we should be.

And you might not like to hear this, but this may be as good as it'll ever get in your life. I know you want tomorrow to be even better, which is a good thing to strive for, but you don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. Even if you know exactly what you are waiting for - I doubt you do - and even if this thing is certain to make a substantial difference in your life - it probably won't - you're still waisting your time. Tomorrow, a truck driver might ignore a red traffic light and splatter your brains all over the asphalt. Crude, but true.

Your life may never get any better than it is right now. Just stop and think about that for a second.

Or you might die seventy years from now, and your life may get better and better all the time. But still, you can live every day only once. The seconds are seeping away right now, you'll never get them back. So it might be a good idea to ask yourself what you really want to do today. And more importantly, how you want to feel today.

It's all in your head.

Thursday, August 9

Paper cut-out people

On how many pictures taken by strangers do you occur, accidentally, a passer-by? How many thoughts have been thought about you, concerning you specifically, by people that do not know you? How many of them have cursed you, admired you, laughed at you? How many glances have you missed, how many stares have you failed to notice?

Every day you leave your home, you appear in the background of the lives of hundreds of people, for just a short moment of time. They notice you - only seconds before they forget you again.

The fact that I exist in other people's lives and thoughts is something I have never truly realized. Seen from the centre of the world, strangers are no more than paper cut-outs, their minds silent, disappearing as soon as they're out of our sight. And me? In the eyes of millions, I am just another stranger.