Today I saw a woman take a spill in the crosswalk in the bustling center city of Philly where cars don’t always stop for people – and I saw five people go to help her up and pick up all her debit cards and other things that had flown out of her purse. The world would have you believe that thieves and vultures would swoop in, but no, just six kind souls reacting to a situation with empathy. And if there’s six good people in this gigantic city, that means there could be hundreds, even thousands of people who react to situations with empathy instead of indifference, in this city – and folks, that’s a good sign.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
Last summer, my girlfriend and I packed everything we could fit into a couple of suitcases, donated my car, got a travel carrier for the dog, put our remaining stuff in storage, and said goodbye to our friends and family. We boarded a plane and as it took off, Portland, Oregon, became a part of our past.
For months before we moved I was scared. I’d be moving away from everything I knew, and moving to the East Coast without a job lined up. My girlfriend would be attending an art school.
It didn’t help that we didn’t secure an apartment until a week before we left. We’d also be moving into it without seeing it in person.
But a funny thing happens when you have friends that support your wild plans and dreams, even if it means they’ll get to hang out with you less. Those wild plans and dreams can work out.
We landed in Philadelphia and started a new chapter. I have a job now, my girlfriend’s producing paintings and meeting amazing artists from New York. And right now I’m at a bar about to meet up with an old friend.
On the way here this evening I took an Uber. The woman and I had a great conversation about being positive. She said she was thinking about moving out of state like I did, but it’s scary to move away from family etc.
She pulled over to let me out. I opened the door and paused. “I was scared to move and enter the unknown but when we got on the plane all that went away. It’s scary, but do it anyways.” She thanked me and drove off.
Sometimes I get in a “poor me” mood. Maybe I have a hard day or week. Maybe I have a hard time letting it go.
Sometimes we’re hurting. Sometimes we feel bad. Sometimes there are real legitimate reasons to feel sorry for ourselves.
Other times, we wish it wasn’t so cold outside, or feel frustrated about the the way our shoes look. We can be fickle and moody creatures, as this Bjork song nails rather perfectly.
If you’re having a rough day, and there’s a piece of music or a band you love, put their music on. I also find it helpful to connect with the world, since we can feel disconnected sometimes. And I don’t mean online. Look out the window. A burst of sunlight broke through the clouds as I was typing this post. How many moments like this are we missing? Try to remember that life has your back, even sometimes you may forget that, or disbelieve it. Go out in the world, with your fears on mute, and reconnect to what matters. Nature. Friends. Family. Whatever words you choose. What’s meaningful to you. In no time, that Poor Me voice will quiet down, and you’ll be feeling grateful again.
Chuck Hill is at it again. He recently sold out his entire show in Newport, Oregon! Congrats Chuck! Best folk artist (who also owns a video store that is still in business in 2017 – in the world!).
And those mean the same things.
Here is the wonderful Daniel Riddle performing with the many talented musicians of the electric Portland, OR band King Black Acid.