Several weeks ago I spent time in New York City, wandering through the streets filled with swarms of people that swallowed me up everywhere I went. This was a change from my typical walks at home in a quiet New England neighborhood where I can live like a hermit inside my own thoughts for hours on end, there aren’t many distractions to entertain me or other walkers to bump into. And although I do enjoy my solitude, this past month I needed the city more than ever before. I needed to let my identity blend in with all the other thousands of people, for no one to know my name, and I needed to be reminded from a distance how greatly different and similar all the people that passed by me were.
My days in New York felt like a recovery period from what has so far been one of the most difficult and unsettling periods of my life, a time when fighting off my own demons and struggles left me feeling alone. But being in the city, seeing all the pacing people, the homeless and the wealthy and all the others in between, I was reminded of how much company I truly have. I believe that everyone has their struggles, and I believe there comes a day in every person’s life where they are left staring straight into the face of their own difficulties and fears, and my day just might happen to be today.
The troubles of some may be more obvious than others—the drug addict that wakes up in their own vomit or the alcoholic that stumbles through yet again another night—but demons exist in all of us and those that insist otherwise are simply telling a lie. The fact that we each have weaknesses and faults and problems and battles is what unites us all as human beings, and I am not alone. I find a twisted comfort in knowing that when I feel like my life is moving in circles someone else out there feels it, too. When I can’t sleep at night there’s someone miles away lying awake, and there is another who hasn’t slept for days.
We will struggle together, and there is a way in which this allows us to find empathy and compassion for one another. I believe that the degree to which some people have fighting whatever negativity is consuming their life does not undermine or change how human they are. We are all just people trying to get along, trying to find our way and figure out this thing called life we are living. And it’s not easy, it’s hard. But at least we can do it together, and we can know we are not and will never be alone.
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