Throughout my day, I like to take the time to make note of the people around me, especially during walks through the halls or down a sidewalk. I find it very interesting the number of people that do not make eye contact. In an empty hall or sidewalk, two people can pass right by each other failing to recognize the other’s existence. So many people are somewhere else. Their body is present but their minds are somewhere else. Most are looking down, staring ahead, or texting. I imagine that most of them are simply lost in their own thoughts. Others may be intentionally avoiding eye contact, afraid to attract attention/interaction, or just not wanting to be bothered.
When I make eye contact, I, usually, just smile. At minimum, the other person smiles back. In the busyness of the day, without a formal exchange, we created a moment. I believe that these are the people who are making things happen. They appear to be involved, confident in themselves and on top of things. It breaks my heart that people are so harried, self-consumed, overwhelmed, guarded, or just distracted that they do not have time for moments like this. Previously, I would count myself among the harried, self- consumed, overwhelmed, guarded, and altogether distracted.
During such a stroll, I shared a hello with a stranger in passing. He asked me “how are you?” When this question is asked in passing, I find that the reply tends to be optional. Still, I replied “I have no complaints.” He replied, “Wow, you have it made!” He spoke in genuine surprise. His surprise caught me off guard. I paused. I almost stopped. I wanted to tell him that it was a choice and that he, too, could “have it made.” I wanted to tell him that I made the choice to not let my circumstances define me. That I will not be crippled by life. That I choose to live and be full of life. However, I missed the moment. Still, the moment left an impression on me and now I share it with you. I am fortunate to have a profound appreciation for joy and I am able to realize joy every day. Who can find a complaint in that? Indeed, “I have it made.”
You never know
Taking strolls with my eyes wide open is now one of my simple pleasures. Be present. Look around. You never know what seemingly small gesture or exchange can make your day.