I started studying again almost a month ago. Just because I felt like it, mostly.
I take the train to school because driving would be too hassling. I pass a multitude of people each time, yet it’s funny that even only after a few weeks there are already people I’ve begun to recognize on my morning commute. That young girl with the brown school uniform. That lady with the small floral backpack. Leading lives of their own.
I don’t really see their faces. They’re just backs I recognize as I walk through the train station tunnel or blurs as they walk past me on the platform.
It’s strange to think about..
They probably don’t even know I exist.. But in a way I feel like I’ve become a minuscule part of their lives. Infinitesimally small, but still present.
Sometimes I think about… what would happen if I were to say hello to them one day. Would we become friends? Would we have the same interests?
I wonder where these people are headed to. I can guess some of them – work or school. But really that’s just a surface answer. Do they go somewhere they’re loved? Or are they nervous about their day? Are they walking towards happiness? Or do they feel dread with each step they take? Perhaps they feel nothing at all; indifferent about where they’re headed.
Maybe I’m being too inquisitive.
There are 7.5 billion people on this earth. Each an individual leading their own lives, the main characters in their own stories. How many times have I appeared in someone else’s adventure? How many times has someone appeared in mine?
Not too long ago I attended a social gathering where someone recognized me from somewhere. This person had never spoken to me before; rather they had seen me somewhere else. I felt good because I was happy that someone would remember my face, but sad because I didn’t know theirs.
How many people have passed by me more than once? How many people have had these same thoughts about me? The Asian girl with unconventional hair. The girl with the red uniform who catches my train. The short girl with glasses that I see around campus sometimes.
If I could collect every single photo of me and collate it into one big picture – all of my accidental photobombs, the tip of my head in that wide angle photo, a fraction of my limbs in someone’s selfie – what would it look like? What would it say about me? Did I somehow brighten up their day? Or did I unknowingly annoy them?
The truth is that I am narcissistic. Rarely a moment goes by where I’m not subconsciously thinking of myself. It’s sad, but it’s true – even in a post where I write about other people, I cannot resist to write about myself. I desire to hear people talk about me and praise me for my efforts and compliment me for no good reason. I’m dying to be seen by others because I’m just so interesting and have so much to offer. I am a unique snowflake and everyone should know who I am.
This mentality is so toxic to me, but so intoxicating at the same time. Sometimes I forget that the earth doesn’t revolve around me and if we’re being honest, I contribute almost nothing to this world. There are people who will remember me after I die, but after they die, who’ll take their place? I’ll be a lost name among billions and billions of others.
Does this mean I should act recklessly, abandoning what I hold to be ‘good’ or ‘positive’ behaviour because it won’t matter anyway? Absolutely not!
Regardless of how small a part I play in someone else’s life – even if I’m not in that story at all, I hope that someday everything I do will have a positive effect on everyone I encounter, even in the tiniest way possible.