Nate, 19

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

The definition of what it means to be human may vary between person to person. A large part of what I believe it means to be human lies within the social aspect of our daily lives — especially the small things.

While some are driven to conquer their goals and wear their accomplishments around their necks like jewelry, others simply float. Neither are wrong. Whatever you do, you rarely do it alone — even if you think you do.

Some of the things I miss most are things previously taken for granted — bundling as many of your friends as you can into an old, beat-up, yellow Jeep and driving for hours with no real destination and the radio blasting or sitting shoulder to shoulder in a booth at the local diner, laughing and telling stories until we’ve realized how much time has passed. In essence, the realization that I’ve come to is that we never truly are alone until we are.

Despite this, the human mind is incredibly adaptive. We eventually learn to find grace in the small things. Recently, I have found solace in the form of adventure, in a time where there is none. For me, joy was to be found in navigating through the old woods behind my house. It initially started as a way to burn through an hour or two on days that passed particularly slowly. Once I found the remnants of a long-forgotten stretch of train tracks, the adventures became less of an occasion, and more of a routine.

Every day, I’d venture a little bit farther. The train tracks became a sanctuary, away from everything else that was happening in the world — even if it was only for an hour or two. I treasured my time there and I learned to find inspiration in a small thing that could be looked at as a simple walk. I found inspiration to paint, and to write — to tell a story.

These things made me feel less alone. Whether it be in a novel or scribbles that you wrote with a pen and paper that are barely legible because you wrote them in pure excitement, writing things down makes it so that whoever reads the story was there the whole time. We really never are truly alone until we are.

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