Today I had an advising appointment, research, school, and then swim. It was painfully the same.
And then I took the bus home.
Let me start off by telling you about Betty Jo.
Betty Jo is a homeless woman that lives in our neighborhood. She’s lived in Austin for 50 years and in that neighborhood for 20 of them. She used to own a house there and then, somehow, lost it all. Betty and I have talked a few times before, but it was normally just kind words of exchange as I walked by on my way to or from the bus stop.
Today was different. Why? Maybe because I had an odd day. I HATE incredibly repetitive routine. In the past it has driven me to radical spontaneity. This semester I have been so busy that somehow I’ve been able to squash down any negative sentiment towards it all fairly effectively. But some days it rears it’s ugly head and I feel like I’m trapped.
Anyway, today was one of those days.
As I got off the bus, I saw her sitting by the corner and decided to ask her how her day was going.
I’m a firm believer that you can get ride of your own pain and frustration by simply being kinder to those around you.
Well, Betty and I ended up having a very real conversation about life and what we’re doing.
She told me about how, in her 74 years of life, she’s seen the world grow harder and people have become meaner. She told me how she worries about the state of the world. She explained to me the ways in which people wrong others and hurt others. She told me she hopes for a more beautiful, brighter world.
And I agreed with her. For the most part.
I think there is a lot of pain in the world and that there are people with a goal of maliciousness. But I also think that there are incredible, genuinely kind people in the world.
I believe, with reckless optimism, that the powers of those types of people outweigh the mean in people.
And I thought about it as I showered and made a PB&J and drove to campus and made my way here, to the PCL.
I thought about what it takes to spread love and how easy it is to be cruel to each other and even to ourselves. And I thought about how I want to feel fear and change and use that energy to grow and help others grow.
I thought about the importance of telling people that they’re valued and wonderful and about being unapologetically real. I thought about figuring out what matters.
I thought about what I can do. What I have been doing. What I want to do.
I thought about how unique we all are and how complementary we can be.
I thought about the power of passion and caring. I thought about who I was two years ago versus now. I thought about what I might be two years from now, two months from now, tomorrow.
I thought about rolling up my sleeves and getting dirty. I thought about the value of allowing yourself to be vulnerable and raw.
Clearly, I thought about a lot. And I still am.
I have so much work to be doing right now, but honestly? I’d rather just talk.
With much love and a busy head,