Traveling to different places always has a way of hitting my reset button… I think that’s a common thread for most people. It happened when I went to Spain and Portugal; different languages always bring out new perspectives. It happened again when moving adjusting to dorm life for my freshman year of college. But even when driving down the streets of my hometown, I can’t help but acknowledge all the different cars zooming past; each carries an array of people, and each of them are leading their own lives.
Some may find this train of thought isolating, I know I did for a while. Now I find comfort in knowing that there are so many things happening in the world. So many people going through your same dilemmas. It is much too easy to get caught up in our own struggles; sometimes we could use a call back to reality. An instructor of mine once told me:
“Don’t let a penny block your sun. When you hold a penny, such a small thing, so close and obsess over it, you give it the power to block the sun. But when you move it farther away from your eye, the sun outshines it.”
I think of these words when I need to be pulled out of a funk, but sometimes hearing the story of someone else can be even more powerful. The classmate that lost a family member, the student that serves as the head of their household, the teachers that are struggling with their own issues and push them aside to help us with ours. Sometimes it’s not even someone we know, but a total stranger that seems to have come into our lives for some divine reason.
All problems are valid, but it is important to be aware of which ones we let hold too much power. Is your latest problem worth all the strife, or is it simply a step to your future?
A friend often reminds me:
“The rear-view mirror is the smallest part of the car; the windshield is the biggest.”
Looking back on the past can prove helpful at times, but there is much more opportunity ahead. That, and the fact that someone out there understands whatever ostracizing emotion you are experiencing, always provides some level of comfort. Whether it’s in a new country, a new campus, or back home, there’s a place for everyone. All those different cars with different stories are intertwined.