Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep travelling honestly along life’s path.
People need to be encouraged. People need to be reminded of how wonderful they are. People need to be believed in—told that they are brave and smart and capable of accomplishing all the dreams they dream and more. Remind each other of this.
“Hey man, take my picture!”
“I can’t do it. It’s too dark.”
“Yeah, we need some light. Let’s go over there.”
“Are you homeless?”
“Yes, I am.”
“How long have you been homeless?”
“15 years. I’ve been in Boston 8 months. Before that I was in Washington, Virginia, New York, Philadelphia, Louisiana, Florida…”
“Why didn’t you stay in Florida? It’s so much warmer.”
“I wanted to see my family. But they don’t want to see me. They don’t understand depression. They treat me like dirt. Homeless people treat me better than my family.”
“And what happened 15 years ago? How did you end up on the streets?”
“I tried to burn myself twice. I had 30 surgeries. I was dead two times, but God brought me back. I don’t know why.”
“And why did you do it?”
“I was depressed. Why you crying?”
“Because you are a beautiful person, and my family is really messed up, and I’ve been very depressed. I think I can understand you.”
“Yes, I am a good person. And when you take people’s pictures, don’t disrespect them.”
“No, man, I won’t. I like people. That’s why I take their pictures.”
“And when you make your portfolio, don’t denigrate people. Let the pictures speak for themselves.”
“I will. Are you safe on the streets?”
“Yes, I am…And now I have $8 to buy me some food.”
“That’s all I have. Next time I see you, I will give you more.”
“No, man. It ain’t all about money. Give me a hug. And next time you see me, give me a hug again. And thanks for taking my picture.”
Life isn’t supposed to be an all or nothing battle between misery and bliss. Life isn’t supposed to be a battle at all. And when it comes to happiness, well, sometimes life is just okay, sometimes it’s comfortable, sometimes wonderful, sometimes boring, sometimes unpleasant. When your day’s not perfect, it’s not a failure or a terrible loss. It’s just another day.