It’s amazing what a huge difference it makes when you step out into a world with so many people in such a small space. Now, I haven’t had the luxury of traveling much in my life so my exposure to such a variety of people has been limited. So maybe my current experiences are kind of “duh” things for most of you guys. But I’m going to share anyway ;)
In my little town in Florida you see so many familiar faces. You can almost predict how people are going to act before you even speak to them. It’s a typical small town, with a certain few stereotypes of people. There are, of course, a few outliers…but there’s definitely a lot of commonalities as well! It’s never bothered me at all – I love my hometown. But if I’m being honest, I’ve always been kind of (okay, more than kind of) an introvert. I don’t go out of my way to go be around people. I don’t really go out of my way to engage in conversation with them when I am around them. I’m not really sure why, it’s just how I’ve always been!
Being in New York, I’ve been overwhelmed with a huge sense of community. You are forced to be around people 24/7. You see them on the subway on the way to work, the cafe down the street, hanging outside of the apartments, walking around the park. I think the subway has been the most intriguing place to me because there’s such a huge melting pot of people in there all at once. In some ways it’s unfortunate because people are forced into public situations that may otherwise have been private (example: getting in an argument with your significant other, nursing a migraine, feeling sick, getting bad news, etc.). But at the same time, I’ve never seen people be so helpful and friendly. I’ve witnessed a stranger give someone an ice pack out of her lunchbox for someone who obviously had a headache. I’ve seen tissues handed over to tearful faces. I’ve seen shared lunches.I’ve seen someone get stuck with no cash at the MetroCard machine that doesn’t take Debit cards that day and watched a total stranger buy them a pass so they could get home.
For an introvert, I was really nervous about being out here with so many people. To be honest, I think my lack of exposure to people (my own fault) had me subconsciously believing the worst about people. But I’ve found myself in so many conversations that I would have never had. I’ve met real estate agents, stock brokers, construction workers, fashion designers, bus drivers, etc. All of us on different paths but in the same subway train.
When it comes down to it, we’re this huge amazing beautiful human race. We’re all in it together. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, the bottom line is that we’re all humans and that is a beautiful thing. No one is alone.
If I’ve pulled anything out of this experience so far, it’s that people are amazing and I want to learn as much as I can from every single one that I’m fortunate enough to meet!