After waiting 20 minutes, we decided it was time to go in. As the frigid air bit my nose, I threw the car door behind me. My girlfriend and I quickly head for the entrance.
We stepped inside the lobby. I let out a relaxed “ahhh” as the warm air embraced my skin.
Almost immediately, a familiar face greeted us. It had been years.
As a Christmas gift, a prepaid, full-body massage was given to me. My girlfriend got it for me (she got one as well, go figure). We had just arrived at the spa when we recognized the receptionist. It was a fellow high school graduate from a few years back.
It wasn’t anyone special; I don’t mean that in a spiteful way. We were just never really friends. At one point, though, we were half friends… maybe a third.
Nevertheless, some kind of relationship was there at one point.
It had been so long.
About four years to be exact. Unfortunately, it resulted in one of those half-awkward encounters where you don’t know if the person even remembers you. No one gave the ole “Hey, how have you been?”
There was too much time apart, not enough context, and little foundation for even a simple conversation.
It was strictly business.
She politely set us up for our 3 o’clock appointment. That was it.
After the massage, we paid our money and left. Soon after, I was hit with a strange realization about the interaction with the girl at the desk.
You seldom consider the pursuits of other people.
Kind of a selfish, barefaced statement, right? Well, it’s reality.
You and I can’t fathom the amount of people we come in contact with — without even noticing. It’s bizzare to imagine there are hundreds of millions other beings in the same position as you.
We’re all so alike. We share the same feelings and experiences, just at different times and degrees.
The irony? We’re all locked in on what’s right in front of us. It often seems as if we are exiled, on a separate mission from the rest of the world by ourselves.
Right now, at this very moment, there’s probably 1,000 people in a 1 mile radius of you. Think of all the people; each person doing something entirely specific to them, with no regard for what’s happening just one or two doors down.
It’s true, you just don’t mind it.
This is not a call for action. I’m simply pointing out human nature.
I’m not trying to change your behavior. I’m simply airing out a weird, inevitable aspect of being human. By nature, you disregard others. By nature, you are self-centered. By nature, you think about you and what happens to you 90% of the time.
Seeing is believing
After running into the girl at the spa, I realized this odd, discomforting notion of awareness.
This person I once knew and talked to in History class every week had essentially vanished. I know she didn’t really, but to me, it felt exactly like that.
It was as if my mind said “Oh, won’t be needing this anymore.” Delete. Just like that, gone.
Seeing her now, it made me feel kind of guilty in a way. Years passed. I never once considered her or the life she experienced. In that time, we both endured change, happiness, and hardship. Every day, we both woke up and pursued something important to us. Every single day, there was a story to tell.
But, I never once thought of the other side. I only cared about what was important to me.
It makes you wonder how many other people you’ve unknowingly banished from your life…
So, what am I saying? Should you relentlessly dedicate time and energy to keep up with all your vague, random acquaintances? No. That’s not the lesson here and that’s not what I gathered from the spa that day.
For me, the takeaway is a sense of humbleness.
I think a lot of times we get wrapped up in individual, confined aims. We seem to whittle down our thoughts about the world to a narrow path.
We’re always thinking in terms of “I.”
In doing this, we become a bit near-sighted. We magnify our lives and, as a result, we don’t see things proportionally. It’s why you hear things like, “Why does this always happen to me?” and “What do I get out of this?”
Take the time
It’s important to slow things down every now and again. When we allow ourselves to appreciate those around us, our troubles feel a little less prominent and our perspectives become a little more prevalent.
Have a moment, take a step back, and embrace the journey we all share.