On the L

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Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world

Desmond Tutu

Unevenmango and I live in Chicago, and recently he mentioned something to me that really stuck. We spent the night watching movies with our other two roommates and talking. Once the second movie ended, he noticed that I hadn’t said much towards the end of the film. He looked at me for a moment and asked why I was quiet. I mumbled something along the lines of being in my head about my ex. He paused a minute and then said “You know people think things are bad all over, but they’re really not. You focus on the bad, and yeah it sucks but there are so many good moments you don’t see. The bad seems terrible because the good is the baseline. You just got a new job. You just got asked on a date. We are thriving in one of the largest cities in the country. I know you feel lost but if you focus on the good more maybe the dark wont be so strong.” This seemed like nonsense at first I won’t lie. I mean I really never listen to unevenmango, even though he always seems to be right. I thought about it for a moment and it reminded me of a video I had seen a couple years back. I remembered that it had made me feel some hope, and that it had reminded me that it was not all darkness.

I know it may seem a bit cheesy, but if you truly listen the message is an honest one. Each day, thousands of us use the CTA and ride alongside people we most likely will never see again. Each life filled with countless joys and agonies. I have spent my last few months engrossed in my own problems and blind to the lives of others. The next time I rode the L I more closely looked at those around me and for the first time I really saw. There were friends and families, those that seemed lost, uneasy flirting between new lovers, and the occasional smiling baby. Though my life may not always be happy, by focusing on the world around me I may participate in the winding road of life.

Haskell Moore: No matter what you do it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.
Adam Ewing: What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

There may be days where you feel alone, where it seems as though life is not worth another agonizing minute, but there is always good in this world. This isn’t to say that poof your depression, problems, or some of the other thousands of terrible things you may be going through can be forgotten by a stranger’s smile. The pain that you hold demands to be felt, to loosely quote Dan Green. Perhaps though, if we were to search for those brief moments light, we might find an instant of respite each day. If you look up at night, if you gaze only into that ravenous black, all the gentle beauty of the stars would seem but a feeble glimmer. However, if instead you set your eyes upon the stars, that nothingness appears as but a backdrop to better illuminate the splendor of their glow.

What to do with all the almost people in your life

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Throughout my 21 years on this earth I’ve had a lot of temporary people. Temporary friends, temporary lovers, and in the age of use it and throw it away I know I’m not the only one to experience this.  I’ve had both short lived friendships and shorter relationships. I believe, these people are temporary for a reason. These people often teach you some kind of lesson, and help you to become a stronger person. For me they have all been huge reality checks on many different levels.  Lesson number one was that people grow apart. People change drastically as they’re growing and sometimes you grow away from someone you care about. I lost one of my closest friends in this way. She had been my best friend for years (and I thought she always would be). However as we grew older, we travled down different paths. I was starting to look towards my future more and more, with graduation quickly approaching. She instead chose to run with a different crowd.  When she broke off our friendship, I realized I still cared about and loved her, but we were no longer the girls who laughed because we had no idea what we were doing in math class.

I also haven’t had much luck on the romantic side of relationships. A lot of people I’ve talked to have been potential relationships and have made me believe they wanted that future. Usually that did not end up being the individual’s intentions. Whenever these relationships ended, I’ve often felt alone and pretty down. However these kind of people have helped teach me the true value of independence and how to love myself.  I’ve had a lot of temporary people for many reasons. Sometimes it was me that cut it off and sometimes it was them. But each one made me realize my self worth and what I truly wanted so I cannot regret any of these people. All of these interactions, good and bad, have made me who I am today. Honestly I’m pretty proud of the person I’ve become so thank you to all my temporary people for the growth and peace I’ve come to with myself. So thank you to everyone in my life who has passed by you made me who I am.

Written by LT