How often do we literally walk on the other side of the street and pay attention? My guess is, not often. It’s nothing spectacular; not a life-changing event that will eventually cause me to sell all my things and spend the rest of my life discovering “me”. However, it does seem enough to make you look at a house, and realize that this house, with its unkempt lawn, strewn together decorations, and shoddy workmanship is someone’s home. Or, if you look at the one next door with its well-manicured lawns and meticulously placed decoration, and that clean, crisp feeling.
I was on a walk yesterday, as during this particular day, I am too unhappy with my physique to be lazy, but too tired to actually run. But, trying to switch things up and go the opposite direction of my usual routine, I walked on the other side of the street. I started noticing things about homes that I never noticed before. Things that some may assume has a certain character, or says something direct about its owner. I also noticed how this particular side of the street, there were more curves, more cracks and uneven spaces.
The homes on this side were lackluster. They had no character or personality. Some were falling apart and others were completely disheveled, all in the same neighborhood. I tried to piece together how one side of the street could even be so drastically different from the other side. Then, my brain, my lovely I-think-too-much brain suggested the social stigma that comes with property, and how much pressure we put on what others can see rather than experience.
I know others who come from very different walks of life than me. I grew up modest. We never really had a whole lot, but we always had enough to make memories. Sure, we had more than some, but we still had less than others. My parents have honest jobs that pay enough to survive and allow us to save to have some fun, but I never complained about the things I didn’t have. At least not as I got older. Maybe when I was young and didn’t quite understand, but my family has so many memories that money can’t buy. We are on the shabby side of the street. And I am happy with that.
But I meet others, those from the other side of the street, and I observe the opportunities. They have more, being in the position they are, but they (mostly) seek out the opportunities because they want more. Sometimes it’s that they want more for themselves, and that’s a demonstration of personal growth, but other times, it’s that they just want more. More stuff, more entertainment, more things, more places. They make their memories with things.
Now don’t get me wrong, traveling and having those experiences are once in a life time, but not everything needs to be bought. Not everything has to be a symbol of status. In the end, we are all trying to make a legacy, become immortal, and have our name be something memorable, or have it be something that evokes a certain wonder, or response. I’m doing the same thing by writing. I may not be Virginia Woolf, but these are my thoughts, and no one can change those. But by looking at the other side of the street, it should inspire you to be great, and it should allow you to be thankful for your life.
I never had a lot, I am a teacher, I will probably never really have a lot, but I have passion, and motivation to be the best version of me I can be. Those on the other side of the street have a lot, they have opportunity and memories, and still, they have the motivation and drive to be better. When the two collide, it may create an interesting dynamic, but if you take down the house and leave nothing but the foundation, it’s all based on how happy you are allowing yourself to be, and whether or not you have repaired and grown from the cracks, because every house has cracks.