A new year
Tonight 2016 ends. I don’t know if it was a good year or a bad year. I do believe it was a year with a lot of change.
Change brought about for good (or for bad) as some may believe. I lost my last grandparent, I lost a dog, I spent 10 days in New York, and I read a few good books. I found a place for myself in my own eyes and in the work I do.
I don’t believe change is about resolutions. A new year is an arbitrary deadline. How will I decide something without understanding how it will affect the rest of my year.
But the one new year resolution, which is worth making and worth keeping, is to lose my own personal inertia. In the balance, this was a good year at least for me. I think I managed to lose some of my resistance to change.
For a few years now, I share a story with people as part of my new year greetings. A lot of old friends have read this story, many new friends and readers may read it for the first time.
I leave you now with the original story… Have a peaceful and happy 2017.
I flagged the bus, got in, tapped my card on the reader and looked around for an empty seat. There it was, right at the back. I grabbed a pole immediately to steady myself and started making my way towards the empty seat. Very very slowly. Suddenly I had the strange realisation that there actually was no need to grab the pole. Or even to walk that slowly. The bus wasn’t budging. At all. Maybe someone else had flagged it? I turned around, but there was no one. The front door had been closed.
And that’s when I noticed it. The driver was looking at me in his rear view mirror. The bus was still stationary. What had I done? Was he going to holler, “Excuse me, you didn’t tap your card!”? No, I was positive I had tapped my card. What was it then? Had I dropped something? No. Was there another vehicle in front of the bus? No.
Oh wait, had the bus broken down? I got on the bus and it broke down? I looked around guiltily at the people around me. Strangely, they did not seem to be annoyed or even curious about the stalled bus.
I turned around again and the driver still seemed to be following my movements in the mirror. “All right, what is it???? Move already!!!” I wanted to yell. But by then, I had already reached my seat.
The moment I sat down, the driver started the bus.
And that’s when it hit me. He was waiting for me to get to my seat before he started the bus. He didn’t want me to be jolted off my feet and fall flat on the bus floor.
And that’s why no one on the bus was wondering why the bus wasn’t moving. They had all been treated with the same care.
Among all the reasons for the stalling of the bus that had crossed my mind, this one just… wasn’t there. The guy was just being nice.
To me, that was the real jolt.
I raised my hand to thank the driver and he smiled in the mirror and nodded an acknowledgement.
Inertia. Resistance to a change in state. Maybe all of us need a little dose of such incidents. To open up our minds a little more and get rid of the inertia that has made us thus.
I came across the anecdote above on the internet, a few years back, and have not yet been able to find the original author. If someone knows who wrote this please ping me. I would love to be able to credit this story.