There are these moments with these people. In the elevator. In a crowded train. In an empty train with no one and nothing but the space and the air molecules between you and them. When you are just about to turn down an aisle in PA on a frenzied Friday and your OCD stomps in. You stop in your tracks bringing to a momentary stop the rhythm of the collective pulse of all the shoppers. And, unapologetically holding the cart in front of you, you lean backwards to check if you have missed anything. And, in that moment, you catch their eye. Them whom you did not know lived and breathed and shared this planet until this very moment when you shared the light rays bouncing off your eye lenses. In that moment, although they are unknown to you, they cease to be unseen.
They don’t have to be a stranger. They can be the casual acquaintance with whom you deconstructed a life puzzle. If only by fortuitous timing. This morning, this happened to me. I could not have not noticed that bright sunshiny yellow jacket. Even if I had tried. They were standing there ear pods plugged in their ears and thick glasses perched on their nose. And, there was a moment’s urgent hesitation to just keep walking past them. It is the easier path. The path of least resistance. At that moment, their head turned and they could not have missed me either. Even if they had tried. We entered into a definitely genuine yet laborious exchange of pleasantries and updates about each other’s understandably exciting immediate future. Of course, there is something seductive about the impending immediacy of an un-occurred event that has not yet shattered or surpassed the built up superhuman expectations. We, then, could have promptly said goodbye and walked away. Yet, we did not.
For the next several minutes, we stood there talking about what motivated us to study our respective fields. I have a lot of time these days and I spend a lot of that in my head. So, I am reflecting on life, and connecting with others at that subliminal level, and relying on those shared moments to understand why things unravel sometimes and are just perfect some other times. It is impossible to justify my numerous decisions that are still continuously weaving themselves into a carpet of my remarkably colourful existence. An existence that makes justifications irrelevant. Maybe if I tried and maybe with some help, I will understand that. As a means to that end, I have deliberately slowed and in that I have found ways to connect. As a result, there is a collection I am slowly building up. A trove of treasured moments.
Don’t get me wrong! I love running, too. In fact, till this point, I have been running at what might even qualify for a breakneck pace. I have devoted much of my young life on sharp productivity for sustained performance. In turn, I have flirted freely with the inevitable darkness and experienced the full force of unwieldy being. I know all too well that point. That point called giving up altogether. I am lucky and grateful that that point was not a destination. I would like to believe I have learned to stay connected, to slow and not to self-destruct.
Tonight, as I replay today, it flashes forward in slow motion, dwelling delightfully on each frozen frame. Amidst the bustle of learning a new language, figuring how to run an NGO, a passion pet project, putting down the words necessary to graduate, learning a new choreography, attempting to produce radio, and desperately trying to not break my neck or leg on an icy sidewalk, I have become of a collector of these frozen frames. I do not have all the answers. I do not know what the balance is. I am going by my gut. I am going by feel. And, right now, how this feels feels right.