A Glimpse That’s Not

The strangest thing has been happening lately. Wherever I go, for the briefest moment, I’m seeing familiar faces in complete strangers. That is, I glimpse someone I’ve never seen before in my life and for just a flash I’m sure it’s someone I know.

There, on the sidewalk outside this cafe in Brooklyn: that’s my friend’s mom.

There, on the subway into the city: that’s my high school crush.

There, in line at the post office: that’s my old boss.

There, in the lobby at the theater: that’s my college sorority sister.

It’s unpredictable and unanticipated, but it’s happened every other day or so for about a week now. At first, I didn’t really think anything of it. Odd, sure. I haven’t thought about some of these folks in ages, and there’s my subconscious recognizing them in the faces of strangers.

Now that it keeps happening, though, I’m wondering if something else is going on. But what, exactly? Maybe I’ve been so otherwise occupied lately (with work and…work) that this is the Universe’s way of reconnecting me to the familiar? I’m choosing to believe that they’re fleeting yet poignant reminders of the breadth and depth of my network, the simplest of nods to the extent to which I’m enmeshed in the world around me. And at a frequency that won’t let me ignore them.

Which, if I’m being totally honest (and if I can’t be that here, then what’s the point?), I sorely need right now. The singular focus that work demanded for the last couple of months was a nice distraction from real life for a time, but at some point even that veered into overdose territory – too much of one thing for too long. Now that I’m paying attention to them, these sightings seem to be gentle nudges back in the other direction, back to a life that is more – much more – than work.

Elizabeth Gilbert likes to say that there’s no such thing as balance in life, and that to seek balance is just a fool’s errand. In reality, according to her wisdom, the best we can do is find peace and joy in whatever chaos we’re currently experiencing. It’s a sentiment that’s growing on me, especially if I’m back in the Festival cycle for the foreseeable future. I won’t survive if I swing like a pendulum between work and life and life and work; nor will I ever truly be able to find “balance” between the two.

I don’t really know how all this goes together – and maybe it really doesn’t. But it’s all got me thinking and wondering and making connections where there weren’t ones before. And oh look, there’s the girl who used to cat sit for me…wait, nope. Just a stranger.