It is of no consequence for me or you to live as we live or do as we do. To us, this is life. This is our everyday version of normal—or at minimum; this is what we assume our “Normal” should be. We see what we see; therefore, we think what we think and believe what we believe.
It is nothing to me to see what I see on the street or to the mailman on a Saturday afternoon. It is nothing to excuse my feet on the subway while an old homeless man shuffles down the car with a cup in hand and asks for change. This is nothing for the normal everyday riders on a New York City subway system. This is more of the same and par for the course. Meanwhile, a man nods off into the depths of a drug called heroin. There is a slight aroma of urine on the train and yet, this is only an early morning ride which heads uptown.
Nobody remarks or says anything. Instead, we see this as another morning on the train. This is not different from any other day—so, why would be astonished or moved by the lonely man who is sleeping in the seat as if this were the only place for him to rest.
There is nothing to this nor is there any reason to suspect or judge this as odd or unfortunate. Instead, this is only part of life. Think about it . . . This is life as it relates to the culture of a small place in a much bigger world. What if this is your world too? And it is, isn’t it?
What if this is your trip? Isn’t this you? It’s the same thing; each and every morning, off to work, dodging the kamikaze taxis that whip through streets. Maybe your world is different. Hell, I know it is but still, the similarities are extraordinary (if we think about it).
And someone has an opinion. Someone of course looks on and smirks and scowls at the people who they believe are “Less-than.” They look down as if they are above; and yet, no one is above anyone, regardless of their positions on the train or in the fields.
It is clear that our circumstances are different but yet, the science that supports the beat of my heart is the same which supports the breath in your lungs. In the end, no matter how wealthy, we all end up in the same place, in the same sized box and buried in the earth. No one is so high and mighty that they can escape this fact.
The wealthy, the poor, the popular and the unknown are out there somewhere, learning, living and thinking as they do. There are those who’ve mastered the art of getting ahead. Of course, there are those who have mastered the art of falling behind. Some have mastered the art of remaining as the status quo, the mundane and the ones who are comfortable with their mediocrity. There are some with all the talent and all the worth in the world, yet, no matter where their address might be, I’ve seen them in the emergency rooms too. I’ve seen them with oxygen tubes beneath their nose and hooked up to a monitor after a near death experience. I’ve spoken to their loved ones who’ve said, “No matter what the cost is,” to a nurse who explained to me, “I don’t care how much money they have. They’re son is dead.”
It is not me or you or any of us in particular. This is life and rest assured; life does not alter simply because we believe that it should or because we think we have the power of influence. I have seen the powerful crumble into humility. I have seen the meek become powerful and I have seen the rise and fall in myself as well as others. I have seen the fat that’s been cut by executives to maintain their lifestyle. I have seen those who’ve forgotten that it’s their weight that leans on the people below them—and I’ve seen them trim the fat. I’ve watched as they trimmed some more until eventually, the weight of their structures collapsed. And there they were, back at the bottom.
I have heard people regard their subordinates as bottom feeders. I have seen what happens when people have forgotten their way. But when pride came before the fall, I watched them swim with the bottom feeders or in holding cells before reaching the judge, meek and frightened, because they forgot what it means to survive.
I do not celebrate the fall of anyone—even when (or if) they deserve it. I have been on both sides of Karma. I have forgotten myself on more than one occasion, only to be humbled and face down in the dirt. I lived here for a while. I lived in my downfalls and my misfortunes and believed in them even after they faded. I held them with bias, contempt and preconceived notions. I allowed this to become my programming until one day, I decided I wanted to be free.
My work has allowed me the experiences of being flown to different parts of the country. I was fortunate to sit in a room of men and women who shared their experience, strength and hope with each other. I was on the opposite side of America—and like me, they also experienced life and the ups and downs. They also went through hard times and moments of humiliation. I recall my first trip to Beverly Hills, California. And guess what? There were homeless people there too. There were people on both sides of wealth and yet, to them, seeing what they saw every day was no different from me and my trip on the subway.
There is always something beautiful to be found—even amongst the sad or the depressed—even in solace even in sorrow; there is always something beautiful to see—whether on a train through Harlem or on a walk down Venice beach; there is always somewhere to see hope and there will always be sun after the clouds disappear.
There is always an end, which is something that we all face. Like it or not, no matter how big your bank account is, when it’s your turn, it’s your turn. Nothing in the world can change this science.
So be nice.
I met with someone yesterday. He told me that he likes to make people laugh. He said that he was sad all the time so he knows how it feels. He said he would rather see people smile than be depressed. He talked about the quote from Robin Williams. Williams was a man who had it all and yet, with all his privileges and with all of his talents and wealth, nothing could stop the science of life.
Perhaps we are all living on borrowed time. If this is true than this means everybody owes and everybody pays.
This means that at some point, we’ll all have to pay the check. So, be mindful.
Don’t borrow more than your share
And watch out for the interest
Because that’s where it hurts . . .
As I see it, I know that I have debts.
As I see it, let me pay now because I’d rather pay it forward than owe.
I’d rather settle up now so that when my number is called
At least the damage won’t be so bad.
Know what I mean?