I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a life. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. -Maya Angelou
It feels good to be back writing again. It has been a very eventful few days. The Mindfulness task for the past 4-6 days has been focused around practicing eating mindfully. I have spent the past 3 days in Chicago, IL visiting my best friend. Typically when I visit a larger city like Chicago I get a tad overwhelmed. I think it might either be the amount of people pushing past you in the street, or my Uber driver literally getting in an all out honking match with a moving truck to see who can cut the other off first to get stuck at the next red light. But, this visit in Chicago was different. While I was focusing on what I was going to feed my body, I also was able to partake in a few activities that fed my soul.
The activity that really stuck out in my mind was not something that I would call a grand event. It was an Uber ride requested by my friend to pick me up to take me to her school in which she teaches 2nd grade. As I got into the Uber the driver and I exchanged our “hellos” and proceeded to have quite a ride, unexpectedly he began telling me his life story. Even though it was 8:30AM and I hadn’t had any coffee I decided to listen. The driver’s story began by him telling me about his daughter having a new baby and that he was a grandfather —to which I responded the usual questions ( Is it a boy or a girl? Do you like being a grandfather?) he was super responsive but took it a step further. He asked if I was from Chicago, and if I was familiar with a larger building (which I can not recall the name of) . I let him know that I was from Michigan and was unfamiliar with the area. He then proceeded to tell me that he had done security for over 30 years and that a majority of those years he acted as security for a building that housed drug dealers, gangbangers, and other families. So, at this point I didn’t know where this conversation was headed, but I was intrigued. We talked about choices and how the times that we live in now are so fast paced, and can sometimes be perceived as cold. The driver then proceeded to tell me about when he was 5 years old he had watched his mother shoot his father, and although his father had lived he was required to live in group homes until the age of 18. He worked as a car washer, in an apartment building office, and other odd jobs—but the thing that he said that kept him on the straight and narrow path even though he had experienced this traumatic event was the fact that he wanted to prove everyone wrong. That people were not expecting him to amount to much and were waiting for him to either be on drugs or get locked up— even his own family members would treat him as an outcast due to the fact that he was doing well and many of them were struggling. While he told me his story unapologetic, I couldn’t help but come to the conclusion in my mind that in everything we do in life we have choices—we have the choice to eat ice cream or to eat a salad. We have the choice to follow through on our new years resolutions and goals vs. procrastinating, and we have the choice to take the path less traveled vs. following the paths that others have laid down for us. Now, I couldn’t tell you what prompted this conversation between the two of us that day, or that I have just naturally have a disposition in which people who I hardly know are chomping at the bit to speak with me—but I can tell you all that I am a better person for learning about this man. Instead of staring at my cell phone, checking my Instagram app for the 50th time, or just talking about the bare minimum to end the conversation. I decided to be inquisitive, a good listener, and to allow myself to be open and vulnerable to others.
So no, I did not end up counting how many chews that I took with my food like the challenge had requested, nor did I start a food journal, but I can confidently tell you that I am “full” in more ways than one.
So, Johnny from Chicago, IL if this blog ever finds you, I want to say thank you for sharing your story with me and I am blessed to have met you.
Cheers to Monday,
Note: I will be posting new entries on Monday’s and Sunday’s. So please feel free to follow the blog to get updates.