Monday, 14 July 2014

Busy streets and busy lives

Everyone has a life.

Maybe this isn't such a profound realisation for most of you, and maybe this whole post is going to sound a bit stupid and a bit obvious, but it's only really something that has hit me in the last couple of weeks. So yeah, I understand that other people have feelings and that they go to places and that they have people in their lives who they love, who they hate, they have likes and dislikes, and so much more. But then I started thinking about how many lives one person affects. It started with a boy I work with called Harry.

Let's talk about Harry. He's classically good looking; chiseled jawline, defined cheekbones, great smile, the whole lot. He's a bit dopey when you chat to him, but he studies plumbing at college and he loves it. I don't think he's got a bad bone in his body, he's so sweet to everyone. He absolutely loves clubbing and goes out several times a week. These are just things about Harry, but this doesn't tell you anything about his life. I don't know if I'm making that distinction clear, but it works in my head. Knowing someone, and knowing about their life are two totally different things. So, until recently I only knew Harry as a person, barely a scratch on the surface really, but I knew nothing about his life and his thought processes.

When I was talking to him a few weeks ago, he told me the only reason he was still working at McDonald's was because he was saving up to take his girlfriend on holiday. So I asked about his girlfriend and we got talking about his love life. It turns out that handsome, lovely Harry has been very unlucky in love. He had a psycho girlfriend about a year ago who still stalks him, but a few months ago, he met a girl in a club. And as they got closer and hung out more, she became his girlfriend. He says he's in love for the first time and told me that he was getting some photos of their holiday framed as a surprise for her.

And that's when it hit me. Harry is a real person, not just someone in my life. Perhaps that's a really self-absorbed way to think, but I'd never really pictured him outside of the McDonald's work place setting before. This lovely, charming, caring boy is the happiest he's ever been in his life. He has a sister, and parents, and best friends, and a girlfriend he's devoted to. And none of that has anything to do with me. That could well be the most selfish sentence I've ever written. But there's so much to this one guy, this one person. He has so many dimensions and is so much more than just a chirpy happy guy I see twice a week.

He's a huge part of so many people's lives. So many people care about him. There are people like me who just know a bit about him and care about him because he's so down to earth and genuine, there's his girlfriend who's in love with him, and there's his family who love him unconditionally. And I realised that this is the case for every single person I've ever seen in my life. Not just people in my school, or the little girls at Brownies, but people who I've seen at the airport, or in Germany, or anyone on the street. They impact so hugely on someone else's life, and even if no one cares about them at that precise moment (which is a tragic thought), at some point in their life, they were probably one of the most important people in the world to someone else.

Right now, I have five people in my life who I care about an insane amount; my mum, my dad, my brother, my best friend Lola, and my part time boyfriend/full time bestie, Tom. Even writing this has made me see what a huge part of my life they are. But they all have lives too. My mum and dad did the majority of their living before I was born, and all those experiences they've had have shaped who they are as people today. My brother Skypes his friends daily after school and god knows what they talk about, but he's a huge part of all their lives. Lola is outwardly a happy go lucky gal, but inside I don't think she's quite as happy. This aspect of her life is something I had no idea about until recently as it's something she's chosen to keep very much separate from our friendship, but it's a massive part of her life. And Tom has so much going on in his world which I have nothing to do with. Friends I've never met, all his family in Goa, all these memories and experiences of his which are so important to him, but which I have no idea about.

I feel like this post is very disjointed and I've not articulated my thoughts as well as I wanted to. What I'm trying to say is that I'm only now really appreciating that other people have these intricate lives and thoughts and dreams and emotions like I do. I'm really trying hard not to sound selfish about this! Every single person, even people at school who I think are deathly boring, has a life made up of so many parts and people and experiences and that's so wonderful.

The lyrics to 'State of Grace' are really relevant to all this!


  1. I totally get this. Like I normally just view people as components of my own life but they probably see me in the same way it's so weird

  2. I definitely get what you mean Kate! Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog again- I know it was aaages ago but I'm finally home and have a wifi connection. (hurrah!) Can't wait to see your post about your holiday and have fun at Latitude, I'm incredibly jealous! Also, I love the reference to Taylor Swift lyrics. I was listening to this album yesterday in a long car journey and forgot how much I loved it! Last but not least, your prom dress was lovely! You looked so beautiful xx