Be the listener. Be the storyteller. Be the one today to preserve the legacy of our past.
Have you ever looked around at the people around us – either strangers, friends, acquaintances or passer-bys and wondered what they have gone through? From a surface level, it’s easy to describe how that person is. Perhaps the sweet lady who made your coffee this morning at the local café had a gentle smile as she took your order. Or that the young teenager sitting next to you as you waited for the bus was a bit quiet and moody and almost stand-offish. Or that your boss had a little less patience than normal this morning and wasn’t quite receptive to your ideas. Or perhaps, during your day to day, maybe you don’t even notice the people around you because you’re so absorbed in either your own thoughts or too focused on fidgeting on your phone in your hands.
It’s an eye-opening thing to note that everyone around us has their own story to tell. We are always looking for new stories to be told to us through the scope of entertainment as we regularly watch movies, attend musicals, read books and browse the internet. The most thrilling and inspiring of stories are often those that are based on real life events, because we find them as both relatable and realistic. Real life events can connect with us on a deeper basis because the events that are being told no longer become a mere story or creative piece of entertainment, it is a piece of the past that has already happened, and in learning or being exposed to this information allows us to feel closer and connected with the world, its history, and our ancestry.
It’s funny to note this because everyone around us has their own story to tell – their lives and their past are a piece of the world and our community. When we look around us and really see people for who they are, we begin to realise that what we see is only the front page of a book woven with past tales, memories, experiences and emotions. We are so intrigued with the lives of our friends on social media or the lives of well-known celebrities and the most recent trends they adopt that we look past the most precious stories to be told and where they come from. Everyone around us is a crystal ball into their past realm; even the people we think we know well could have gone through significant things that have changed or affected them, yet we aren’t aware of this because our conversations are too surface-level or we have never thought to really ask them about where they’re from, what they’re made of and who they are.
We are all yearning for intimate human connection, either in a romantic or platonic form. Connection comes from sharing thoughts and experiences; it comes from exchanging the things that mean and matter the most to you. There is a reason why the elderly are associated with being wise, and it’s because they have lived longer in comparison to us and their experiences and their past has taught them invaluable lessons to be shared and passed down to us. In this world it becomes the norm to have surface-level conversations, to nonchalantly ask someone how their day was without the true intention of taking the time to find out truly how their day was. It all becomes a dance of politeness and courtesy, almost like social tick boxes that make us feel like we are well-mannered and well-educated citizens.
Our past are stories that, if untold, becomes lost memories and lost lessons. It is in our innate nature and desire to pass on these anecdotes to those around us, which is why cavemen painted their narratives on rocks and caves in the hopes that their legacy would live on. We are all rich with the things that have shaped us – whether good or bad, we all have a story to tell. Be the one today that asks the questions to engage in these meaningful stories, be the one today to really listen to those who are waiting to share their experiences. Be the one today to read into the novels of people’s lives beyond the covers of their first page, be the one today to keep these legacies living forever.