Often while visiting countryside and sitting outdoors by a pool or watching the mountains, with the notes section of my i-phone open, I wonder – how did I get here? Not in geographical sense but metaphorically, intellectually and emotionally. Did I recognize the person who just walked past the mirror? Was it really me? Casual clothing and don’t care attitude or the fact how many people are going past me and wondering – she looks alright, she can do better, she can be somebody, why doesn’t she?
So, where did I give up? Or rather where did I pick up this attitude where I have started doing what I really like to do, without waiting for feedback or approval of any sort. Where have I embarked that I feel good even about unknown surroundings? I am no longer waiting for life – I am doing my chores, yelling at my kids, loving them with all I got and sleeping with loud snores. I am no more keeping my back straight, higher than others in the aim of being unique. I used to have etiquette once. I was no elbows on table kinda person, once. All that is left of it is some remnant shame of avoiding it completely.
When did I start believing that greater good resides in people all around me? When did I start acknowledging that no one is always out to get me, to grab what I hold so close to my heart and destroy my happiness?
it is strange how one evolves to start looking at his/her life from a distance to evaluate it correctly. It happens when that you travel to a vacation spot and greet everyone in a breakfast line or walk to a shuttle for sight-seeing. It happens when as a collective, you cheer for the same team or as a crowd silently wipe tears over the same scene in a movie theater. It is combined destiny that sweeps you over. I see the same here – people leaving with suitcases and confused babies, and ones coming in with hats and plethora of luggage. Both have the same story – from here to there. I watch them, intently as I see them travelling in their hearts, the same distance of thoughts and I know they are thinking the same about me.
Look around – in a queue for bus or train or for a delayed flight at the airport. People surrounding you are all identical – tired from work, wiping their sweat, coming back after spending their precious, productive eight hours of everyday life not just to feed their family but also to fulfill the dreams of the ones they love. They are in it, without asking questions, doing diligently what they can do best, hoping for a brighter, better tomorrow. Sure they can die the next instant; they can be raped or tortured beyond imagination; they can be stripped of every right they own – yet they continue to risk everything for another day of normal, banal life.
It is that sync bit which has normalized me. It has pushed me to understand what is it that keeps us all on the same heartbeat, the commonplace of our existence – growing up, finding a partner, keeping our job, raising children and feel the same bliss and disappointments along the way. So every time I smile at them – I acknowledge the same markers; I share the complexity of an ordinary life; I understand the simplicity of love.
We, the vanilla people.