“”It was crazy how small the world truly was. It was a matter of opening up to it.” ~Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin
My niece, Lorelei, could spend an entire afternoon singing “It’s a Small World.” She lives in Florida and when my sister and brother-in-law take her to Disney World (which happens often), she immediately asks to go on that ride. She loves all of the music, the different scenes, and the boat ride. For my niece and her generation, the world is small and growing smaller all the time.
The quote above from Let the Great World Spin, a remarkable read that I highly recommend, got me to thinking about all of my own small world examples. It still amazes me that in a city of millions, the many circles I run in merge and overlap so often. Some fun examples:
1.) My friend, Amanda, found me through my blog after we went to Penn together (graduated the same year) and lived in the same city (D.C.) for two years. I probably saw her out in the world countless times, though our writing actually lead us to one another. Our friend, Sara, found me through a mutual friend and as it turned out she lived in D.C. at the same time Amanda and I lived there, and her and Amanda have remarkably similar circumstances in their personal lives.
2.) People have a habit of recurring in my life. Even separated by many miles and years, old friends pop up in the most unlikely places and I always laugh when I learn that our paths have run so close together without even knowing it. My favorite of these is my friend, Jeff, who shows up as my little guardian angel right when I need him most – for example, when I’m job hunting (he helped start my career in professional theatre) or completely lost in Amsterdam (I ran into him on street corner when completely at my wit’s end.) We barely talk between those instances and yet it he never feels like a stranger to me.
3.) Twitter, Facebook, and blogs of every variety make it easy to find out pack. I love that geography no longer limits the relationships to begin, build, and keep. Let people talk about information overload – for us information junkies, Twitter creates a dream-come-true candy store.
4.) Books build bridges across time and space. I love that the writing of people who lived centuries before me have stories that resonate with me. And I feel such a gratitude toward them for writing it all down. Those experiences keep me writing, in the hopes that centuries from now someone may read something I wrote and think “here’s a person who gets me.”
5.) I love confluence and synchronicity. I love the feeling that rises up when something unexpected happens to me and I understand why. Steve Jobs said that we only understand our lives and how they unfold by looking backward. I agree. When I reflect on my own history, even when it seemed so random in the moment, a reason for every circumstance always appears clear as day. This realization makes tough times easier to manage.
What experiences make you feel like we live in a small (or big, as the case may be) world?