Monday, January 25, 2010

what could you Live Without?

Before a run down the Mall this morning, I was reading the NYT and came across the following Op-Ed article about letting go of something you have so someone else has it a little better...

Now for my picture:

Caption: On the way to take a Trip to DuPont, I saw this woman rocking back and forth next to Union Station, a major metro/Amtrack stop in DC near the Hill. To be honest, I noticed her Eeyore stuffed animal first. Then, I saw her.

The Washington Post reported last year that 6,228 people live in DC. Of these 6,228 people, 3,934 are considered "unaccompanied single" people while the remaining 2, 294 people are in families... some are children.

Why are they homeless? Laziness, some say. Others point to a bad economic climate. Maybe the reason is the expansion of the transitional housing programs in the city. One thing I can bet is that they did not wake up one morning and decide to be homeless. The woman outside of Union Station did not throw away all her belongings save her Eeyore and Tigger and hit the streets to rock on the concrete blocks, to gaze off into the distance. I've noticed on many of my Trips that the homeless who are sitting alone are often looking at something I cannot see. I wonder what it is.

Word on the street is that everyone is in pursuit of the "American Dream." The ease at which one achieves this dream varies from person to person; some are born into a reality of the Dream wherein they go their merry ways while others aren't even aware that achieving said dream is possible. Circumstances differ. Talents differ. People differ. Those who are born and greeted with open doors of opportunity sometimes end up the biggest failures. Others who are born to nothing become the biggest successes. What astonishes me most is the failure of the privileged to acknowledge that not everyone can wake up to a Dream come true. Unexpected events happen to people who are on a path of prosperity, and all of a sudden, the magic carpet disappears, the roof falls in, and the streets become home.

Forgive me for soapboxing (I promised not to), but the article really struck a chord with me. Sometimes it takes a young, hopeful set of eyes to refocus the worn out eyes of the traveled. Seeing past a problem or "situation" (as some call it) takes strength and understanding that humanity is never fair... neither is life.

I leave you with a quote from Gatsby: "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. 'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages you've had.'"

Don't forget others less fortunate than you in your Trips. What could you live without? Sometimes it's easier to Trip with less baggage, anyway...

Let Go and Dream on,

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