I watched a little baby run back and forth from the sand to about six inches into the ocean. This lasted for twenty minutes and I sat there amused at the monotony of his act yet how blissful he was each and every time he touched that water. It is funny how kids are perfectly happy doing the same thing over and over, following a routine, and become obsessed with a toy or movie for months at a time; meanwhile, when you become an adult this type of lifestyle starts to weigh down the soul, creates a cycle of unhappiness, and altogether lessens the purpose to life itself. Too often we believe this cycle and resulting unhappiness results from remaining in the same job, city, relationship, or routine. However, I think it comes to down to laziness. Somewhere along the line we lose our curiosity and our thoughts become redundant.
Our mind easily wanders to a current crush, unrequited love, hookup, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, complicated friendship and often it can feel like that is the most important part of living.
Love is essential to life
but not necessarily romantic love.
A love for your friends, for food, for animals, for nature, for cinema, for words, for architecture, or anything that fills your heart and reminds you what gives purpose to humanity.
Last week a man on the subway saw I had insufficient fare and swiped me in. Sure, I'd have been fine and refilled my card but since he did that I caught the E right on time and his small gesture made me consider the kindness of strangers. Falling into a trap of disconnection, "not my problem," "don't get involved," "tough luck" may seem like the unimpeded path to a convenient, better life; however, how great does it feel when someone say-- gives you a swipe, bums you a cig, tells you they love your face earrings that you got at little boutique in Greenpoint, or gives you directions to this elusive restaurant your friends told you to meet them at.
The world might seem easier to live in when you just mind to yourself and ignore nuisances, but it is also a lot colder.
Rather than stare at the concrete as you walk, listening to the same playlist for the millionth time, take out your earbuds and look around. I did this one day and happened to watch a man drop about fifteen oranges from a ripped bag onto the street and under his truck. I started laughing then started picking them up. Clearly surprised, he insisted I did not need to do that, he was sure I had better things to do and in fact I was running a little late for work, but I finished picking them up. Regardless of his gratitude, the interaction left me with a strange contentment for the rest of the morning. The inconvenience of an act can prevent us from doing it, but if we choose to act, the unanticipated positivity we can get from helping another person or from gratitude will more often than not outweigh the disruption to our plans or routine.
Most people's careers- in one way or another, do this. A doctor might cure my strep throat, a garbage man picks up the trash before New York smells like a giant dumpster, the super fixes your clogged drain, etc. My point is the world is dependent on helpfulness and love, so broaden your tunnel vision of the person who might feel like a soulmate slipping away to include the rainbow of light from other types of human love and people in your life. Instead spend that effort on appreciating your friends, analyzing art, contemplating a novel, petting a dog, watercoloring in the park, or whatever it is that fills your heart.
You can find something worth considering in even the most redundant of settings like happening upon gold tokens on the sidewalk of Bushwick. Diversifying your thoughts, searching for new curiosities, but also occasionally revisiting some old sentiments can cut the cycle of monotony. It makes surviving heartbreak easier, it gives a greater sense of our purpose on this earth, and it perpetuates happenstance opportunities that could shift your life for the better. Great, now take your newfound outlook and radiate it. Ever see that Coke commercial?
Get a coke then pass it on.
Same concept. To the point of human interconnectedness, your seemingly small contribution to a person's day - maybe just a smile, could put in motion the chain affect that shifts the mood of several other people that same day.