I Want To Read Your Biography One Day

Hey world,

As I was coming home from dinner today on the train, a young boy (maybe 10-12) stood in the center of my subway car, quietly turned on his boombox - just loud enough so we could hear the song, but deliberately quiet enough that it wasn't annoying anyone - and without asking for anyone's attention, started a dance/performance.

I peeked a glimpse of his dancing, and then went back to reading my book. But something inside me shifted; this was a young boy, riding the trains at 10pm, with a spark of determination and selflessness. I was enraptured. After he finished, he collected donations (to whoever offered it, he didn't ask), turned off his music, and took a seat.

Photo by Georgina Gomez, a great NYC photographer (credit)

The woman across from him asked him a question, and he came over to her to answer. In that moment that he bent down to respond, we locked eyes for a second before we both looked away.

I wondered if the opportunity arose what I would say to him - I wish I was strong enough to ask for his attention so I could find out more about his life. What were the series of events that brought him to that particular subway car, on this particular night, the same time and place I also found myself in?

Of course, as I was mulling over all of this, it was my turn to get off the train, and with one last backwards glance, I walked away from this dancing boy, whom I will probably never see again. 

As I walked home, I continued to rack my brains over what I would say to someone who I wanted to both emotionally support and empower, something more than "You're a good dancer!" and less awkward than "I believe you can be somebody!"

Then it hit me. It's exactly what I hope someone one day will tell me. 

"I want to read your biography one day."


Dear boy on the metro,

I want to read your biography one day because I hope one day your story will be written down. 

I hope you write about the moments that molded you, the moments that unraveled you, and the moments that made you whole again. However, as much as I am interested in where you came from, I am far more interested in where you are going. The possibility of your future is infinite. I look forward to the day where I might find out which of life's paths you chose. 

I want to read your biography one day because its my way of showing you that I care. It's me telling you that I think you are important, that you are worthy of documenting, that your story deserves to be told and read and thought about and shared. I appreciate your being.

 And this isn't because you're a young kid dancing on a train; I wish I could read every person's biography -- everyone moves through life in a different way, learning different lessons and experiencing different highs and lows. But some people wouldn't be interested in telling their story. Some people have temporarily lost their determination for better.

But you, I know you haven't lost your determination yet. I know you have the fire within you, the zeal to accomplish, and the fortitude to move through this world with nothing less than humility.

Do not move through life thinking that all of your decisions won't be noticed or acknowledged, because I am here to affirm that they will. There are terribly random people like me, and those around you who love you, who do.

But do well, and do good, not for us, but for yourself. Just know that I'll be rooting for you...

...and that I want to read your biography one day.

Make a life worth living, and live a life worth reading.


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