Let’s have some real talk for a minute.
Contrary to Pinterest and the rest of the web, Plato did not say the above quote.
[I'm not positive he ever would, actually. But then, I'm willing to be corrected. Additionally, I am often rolling my eyes at the myriad misplaced bylines that make their way through this paradoxically teeming void we call the internet.]
However, I think pseudo-Plato might have some kind of a point. Let me explain in a very roundabout way.
I have found myself on the other side of my former life in the past few weeks.
I received my undergraduate diploma back in May, but was graced with employment in the heart of my alma mater, in a building that harbors a number of complex memories spanning four years. Now, the “syllabus shock” of the past is translated to an image of me in front of a machine smarter than I am, cursing at misplaced staples and sneaking a glance at the book list on the third page of a syllabus I could have been handed in a quite different context. I am snatching awkward first-day-of-class conversation bits as I pass down the hall to hang another poster, chest pinching as I name another weird thing I miss.
Even stranger, as of this week, I have moved behind the bar at my favorite coffeeshop (and second home). I had to pause for a moment as I realized the drink with my name on it was also in my handwriting. I’m cracking jokes, taking names (literally), and feeling displaced in spheres I have occupied for quite a while.
I’m learning how to be in the same places all over again.
But at the same time, to animate a beaten-down cliché, I’m learning how to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
[Or in my case, poorly-chosen ballet flats. Standing in those guys for longer than half an hour does a number on basically my whole body.)
I am learning that my barista might have come close to a nervous breakdown racing from one job to this (in theory of course), and my extra twenty seconds of patience and the loving lilt in my voice may be enough grace to feed on for a while.
I am realizing that those who handle my little errands and tasks might be smarter than I think, that perhaps they too, might be people with expensive pieces of paper collecting dust somewhere. Or not. But they might just be worth something anyway, my time and thanks at least.
So with aching feet and a wondering heart, I ask you to notice.
To pause for the briefest minute to offer thanksgiving for the person who is part of the rhythm of your day, whether in latte or legwork.
To consider that each of these small moments is really the possibly magical action of converging stories.
And to tip. Tips are great.