Total cliché. Agreed. But this was the quote I chose to put under my senior picture in my high school year book. I’m pretty sure I took it from a line out of the movie Grumpy Old Men. My teachers were probably disappointed that I didn’t turn to Shakespeare or a Nobel Peace Prize winner or other notable person for the one statement that would poignantly reflect on my being.
Fast forward 15 years. I ride the Metro train to work every day. I recognize some of the people on the train. Not because I know them, but because they too ride the train at about the same time every day. Sometimes I look up from whatever it is that I’m reading to watch everyone sway in unison as the train meanders its way through the city.
When the train arrives at the Medical Center I go to my office, boot up my computer, make myself a coffee, and eat a yogurt while simultaneously checking my email and reviewing my schedule on my dual computer screens. I’ve done this every day since taking this job and there’s no expectation that I would do anything else for a long time.
It’s not that this is a dreadful commute or morning routine, it’s just the monotony can be mind-numbing. The days, weeks, months begin to blur together, until another year has gone by. And what is it all for? At some point or another we are all faced with life’s existential questions. Are we truly living or merely existing?
I used to think this adventure was a way of checking out of life; leaving the familiar, the rat race, the Joneses behind. But the more I think about it, we’re checking in; stepping out of the routine, into the unknown, taking a chance, living.
At age 17, when I selected that caption under my senior picture, I was likely more concerned with whom I was going to prom and if the current state of my complexion would improve in time. I had probably never heard of bicycle travel. But in this quote, as with most clichés, is a ring of truth.