Every once in a while I find something that changes me. Often it’s a thought, an idea that will niggle its way into my consciousness and take root. Often it doesn’t last; I’m relatively sure this won’t either.
This particular change in me was brought on by my vacation. I woke up this morning at 5:40 and I decided to get up. Just me, on my own. I was tempted to go back to sleep: sleep is a rare commodity for me. But today I felt like I needed the solitude that followed me around for eleven days in Japan.
It was strange, being alone with so very many people around. An experience unique for all of its sameness – because really, aren’t we all alone? When I consider the fact that at any given moment, I am the only one who observes what I am observing from my perspective I have a profound sense of being alone in the world. When, in Japan, I took that thought one step further to realize that all the people around me have grown up and experienced the world in a foreign setting, with few of the same cultural experiences, I am taken to a new awareness altogether. I don’t believe I really lived until I had this feeling – and it’s one I truly revel in, as long as I feel safe. From what I’ve seen and how I felt, Japan has one of the safest societies on earth.
And so one of my most treasured experiences while I was there was walking countless times across the street in Shibuya, Tokyo, amidst hundreds of people crossing in every direction.
Ah, the humanity.
Life-changing. For me.
And yet for so many it is simply life. Routine. They come out of the Hachiko exit where the famous statue resides on the entirely indescribable side of the train station (there are two “south” entrances on different sides of the building) and they go to work, or meet a friend, or… or… whatever. I was simply wandering around this vast part of a vast world, all alone. No one I knew knew exactly where I was at that particular moment in time.
Just like when I’m having a coffee at 5:45am, all by myself in my living room.
I love it.