I love riding the subway. I have a 30-40 minute commute each morning and while that time has given me a desperate yearning for exciting podcasts and new knowledge, sometimes nothing beats good old fashioned people watching.
When I was younger and on road trips, I would read license plates and make up stories for the person who owned the car. For example [RSP52983] was Richard Samuel Palt and he was born on May 29th 1983. He’s 34 years old and…
The writer inside me can find a word exercise in anything and the subway is no different. Being surrounded by hundreds of different people every day in New York City means I am constantly around stories and there is something wildly humbling about that.
There is something very strange about realizing that – though you might be fighting through some strong emotional turmoil – someone across from you on the subway is having the best day of their life. Everyone is in their own head in their own bubble on this crowded subway cart and even if it is the best day of their life, they are carrying a multitude of stories and life experiences that I will never know about.
Which brings me to my final thought:
You never know what someone is going through. Part of seeing so many strangers every day has made me more aware of this than ever before. It’s easy to get caught up in my own mind and my own thoughts that I sometimes forget that someone on my train just lost a loved one. Someone on my train just got a promotion. Someone on my train doesn’t know how they will feed their children tonight. Someone on my train is going to propose to their partner tomorrow.
Be caring. Be kind. Be sensitive. Be understanding.
I have no idea what these people are carrying with them today. These people are strangers to me, though. So what about your friends? You may be frustrated at a friend’s recent behavior, but be patient. They may be fighting battles you know nothing about.
Be loving to yourself. Be loving to others. Everything else can sort itself out from there.