My quest has never been to experience the world's diverse natural wonders and climates, nor to witness all of humankind's amazing inventions. What drives me is to understand people, and how they make life work in different kinds of contexts. Along the way, I have lived with European millionaires, who call the very best that the world has to offer "normal." I have lived among the poorest of Africa's poor, displaced from their homes by some of the worst ravages the world knows how to inflict upon itself. I have lived with Asian Buddhists, who embrace self-inflicted poverty as the wealthiest kind of life they could possibly live. I've been a mom, a daughter, a sister, a neighbor, an employee, a boss, a friend.... albeit sometimes from far away.
If there is one thing I have learned, it's that we are all just people, wherever we live - through good times and bad, celebration and desperation, bad choices and things that just happen to us... even through the normal humdrum business of everyday trying to get by. We all do our best in our own way, to make the most out of whatever it is that the world offers to us. I don't claim to always understand when people are mean to each other, but I try not to judge too harshly. Everyone has a unique story, a unique context, a unique way of trying to piece life together in a way that makes sense. While it's that diversity that makes humanity so wonderfully interesting, our common human-ness unites us in ways we sometimes forget to see.
I recently had the privilege to zoom in on it for a while, when I took a month out to go home to the US and spend time with some people who are dear to me: family, old friends, and even some new friends who I'd only previously seen in virtual form. What an absolute treat to be welcomed into homes, to share meals, and to see how families have grown. What fun to reconnect with people I hadn't seen in 15 to 25 years. What a wonder to pick up old relationships from where we left off once upon a time, and to strengthen new ones with the added dimensions of reacting in real-time to facial expressions, and sharing the comfortable silence of simply breathing shared air.
How I love the feeling of connection to the world, that only time spent with other human beings can offer. And so I would just like to thank you, my dear ones, for sharing a little slice of your lives with me. My recent time with you all has made me grateful, and reminds me of just how delicious this thing called life can sometimes be.