Just Another Day

It was a day prior to Halloween. As I headed back home on a train after a long day in the office, thinking what to wear, a short Asian man dressed in hooded coat and jeans with a fancy pair of dress shoes stood next to me. I took a little glimpse and examined the man. His hands seemed rough and flaky, but I could not get a good look at his face nor make out too much of his image.

Shortly thereafter, he asked the directions to where he was headed from an old dark man who stood in front of me. Given the excuse to turn around, I looked back for a few seconds pretending he asked me the question as the true recipient answered it.

The Catalyst

I was shocked and surprised as I gazed into his bloodshot eyes, seemingly chemically burnt or exposed skin, and the ever lonely tooth that was left as he continued to speak to the other man. I quickly tilted my head back as the uneasiness settled in for both the dark man and I. The old dark man tried to be polite, but dismissed any interest in continuing the interaction out of his discomfort and displease with such an unsightly view.

As I stood there embarrassed with my prejudice and bias too, there was a strong sense of urge and a desire to ask that Asian man to sit down for some drinks or food. However, my body trembled as my mouth felt like something had glued it shut, until it was already time for me to de-board, but the man exited the train as well and walked alongside me. As much as my soul cried out to take action and have an encounter that will be remembered until the day I die, my selfish ego told otherwise, and asked why even think of such outrageous shit.

With every stride, he became smaller and smaller until he disappeared as he boarded a bus for his final destination, and there I stood debating whether I should take the final chance to ask him if he would like to get dinner on me, to understand and hear his story about what it’s like to be shunned and treated as an outcast, but there I stood. After an hour since that encounter, I was back at my apartment mulling over my indecision with ever-brewing anger at myself for being such a coward. To shift my focus, I grabbed my phone to check my yahoo emails, but another headline already took my attention “All 224 on-board killed in Sinai plane crash”.

Drowning in Luck

And there it hit me, like a hammer on an anvil, how my habits and surroundings started to mold my actions, how apathy started to settle, but more importantly, how I took my life for granted ever since moving to Chicago. All the moments I told myself “I’ll go to that meet-up tomorrow when I feel like it” “I’ll start swimming again when I have the time” “I’ll talk to that cute girl when I have enough money to take her on a nice date” “I’ll do this or that, when this or that” came rushing in. I grabbed my swim trunks, goggles, and towel to go for a swim after 2 months of excuses, attended the French group meet-up, and held myself accountable to follow through. What did I lose? A piece of paper that supposedly “signifies” our worth. What did I gain? Priceless smiles and encounters with amazing people who realigned me with my purpose to explore and share.

When we’re drifting off our course and purpose in life, the universe gives us a nice kick to the balls or “any pain that’s equivalent for the ladies reading this”, to wake us up. Comfort and complacency are the death to passion, desire, and action. You don’t hurt nor do you feel. “The opposite of love is indifference”

My question to you is, what have you been putting off?