When I was younger, I used to love watching people and imagining what their lives were like if I were to follow them or step into their shoes. There was something about picturing traveling inside a person’s brain and being confronted by the choices they had to make, or the personal history that they held onto. For a moment in time, we were together on the same plane, and the possibility existed that it would be the only time that that would happen. The idea that such a fleeting moment could occur was the most fascinating thing to me.
As I grew older, I became interested in history and later made it my major in college. Learning the names of different figures and facts of history were certainly interesting but was never my main objective for wanting to study it. I liked hearing about the exploits of those coming before me and some still around to share their tales.
Then, I really discovered film and it’s power to transport you for an hour or two at a time to seeing the lives of others both familiar and not. In a darkened room while one world spun on, another invaded my senses and forced me to pay attention. And sometimes, that world was not only yours, but also that of a group of others who were willing to share in the experience with you.
And I realized over time that there was a common thread that united all of these various splits of the personality into one cohesive whole. These were not so disparage of elements after all. For they all were the desire and the opportunity to explore story. Whether it was unknowable, pieced together using various items, or controlled by the choices of a small group of people, it was all in the service of a story.
It made sense that the idea of being able to hear, see, or be able to tell a story would be the most important thing to me. Having a librarian for a mom certainly made trips to gather the stories available at the local library much more plentiful and obvious. When social media became a reality, you now could present an electronic story for others to look and comment upon. You controlled the access, and the content to base the story on. Then, as I got the blog here, I figured after a few posts of pure utter brilliance, (note:utterances of brilliance may be more believed by the beholder of the page than actually apparent in real life) I’d be sharing my story with thousands or maybe millions of people. Now I know that I’m probably really sharing stories with myself. It doesnt matter though.
Life is nothing if not a story told in real time. The important thing is we really need to consider sharing and really take the time to listen to the stories of others. Some are quieter, some are simpler, and some have many twists and turns before you get to the heart of it. Some are written in languages that are absolutely foreign to us. Some are familiar, others the very definition of complex. No matter what, the stories of our forefathers and our contemporaries inspire us, teach us the wisdom or perhaps the folly of taking certain paths, entertain us, or perhaps drive us absolutely nuts. If I have to put a finger on what I should make my purpose in life, perhaps it may just be to function as a conduit by which others may be able to reveal whatever of their stories they choose to share. In my relatively short time in life, I have been fortunate to hear thousands of tales of others, even if it’s just been how they greet other people. The more and more I am hit with or choose to contemplate the meaning of life, perhaps it is no more than being able to provide to and help maintain the tapestry of thousands of stories, collectively held and built upon to create the human story.