I look at humanity this way:

Every day, we wake up cold. With a cold that seeps down in our bones and settles there. No morning shower can take it away. Not breakfast. Not exercise.

Then someone smiles at us. Asks us how we are. Gives up their seat on the train into work for us. And we thaw a little bit.

This happens all day until we get home, and we talk about our day with our loved ones, and we eat dinner, and we go to sleep – and we’re warm throughout. Until the night steals away our warmth, and we wake up cold again.

We can use anything as fuel. As long as it’s from another person. A compliment can warm us for weeks. An inspirational quote can stave off the cold for awhile. And a hug from a friend or a loved one will always do the trick.

It doesn’t matter what keeps you warm, as long as you seek to fend off the cold.

So, be someone else’s warmth. I doubt you’ll stay cold after it.

The Next Time Your Train Catches on Fire

I’m a pessimist in the worst of times. And I’m a pessimist in the best of times. I don’t know; I just can’t help but see the negative side and err on it. 

I mean, I’m not really a half empty kind of pessimist. I’m more like “that guy probably has a knife and he’s probably here to kill me” when I’m in the self checkout line at Target pessimist. 

But today, I experienced something a bit different. You see, I was evacuated from my train home because it was on fire. Yeah, you can read that again. I’ll wait. 

So, a whole train of people were evacuated onto a street in the freezing cold winter air, coughing from the smoke. And when we came above ground, we realized we were not exactly in the best part of a city that’s not exactly (or at all) the best. 

But something came over me. Instead of freaking out and giving into the tears pressing behind my eyes at being in a place alone and not being sure how to leave it, I started to take stock. I had gloves and a hat to help against the cold. And my phone was charged, so I could make any number of calls to get me out of here. 

I guess in emergency situations, after your mind does the freaking out part, you have no choice but to look on the bright side of things. It’s what keeps you sane. 

And maybe, this blog is really rubbing off on me. Maybe I am really learning to look on the bright side. Maybe I’m a born again optimist, or I’ll be there someday. Or maybe I’m just wayyyyyy too used to our country’s transportation systems and dealing with crises. 

The point is that the next time your train is on fire, try to find a silver lining. Because chances are it can’t get much worse. And if it can, there’s always something to be hopeful about. 

Change Happens

Listen. I’m excited for pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pumpkins (aka fall) as much as the next girl on social media. But does anyone else have the strange sense that we were just eating hotdogs and watching fireworks at our Fourth of July celebrations a couple of days ago? I mean, where did the summer go? It’s like I remember a long heat wave and then it all just goes blank…

And it’s in this strange amnesia that I walk around and notice that people are talking about how they can’t wait for it to be cold, and how they can already feel the crunch of leaves underfoot. (Underfeet??) And still, I’m all like, hold up! We have almost an entire month until that all happens. Why are you showing summer the door when she’s been (relatively) kind to you?

And alright, I admit it, I’m just not ready. I’m not ready for apple cider, and seeing my own breath, and mittens, and trees that look like they’ve been lit on fire, and trying desperately (but failing) to come up with a Halloween costume that doubles as social commentary. I was pretty sure that I could fight against the fall tide for a while, just a couple more weeks.

Until I saw it driving home the other day.

“It” was a small tree, maybe a few years post-sapling, standing quite proudly on the exit ramp. One little corner of her leaves had turned completely red and gold while the rest stayed as verdant as they had been in spring. It was like she was just a tiny bit embarrassed and had just started to blush.

And I thought, Not you too! It’s not even cold! 

But it made me realize something very quickly: change happens. No, really. You may not be ready for it. You may not even think that it should be happening. I surely didn’t think it was time for the leaves on the trees to start changing colors. But there it was, inarguable and steadfast, truly defying whatever internal clock I had been synced to. Change happens, whether you are ready or not. Whether you think it should or not. Whether you want it to or not. Even for that little tree. And especially for you.

So, whether it’s a change in the weather or a change in your life, you need to remember that change is inevitable. But whether you embrace it or resist it will always be up to you.