The slowdown on I-5 gave me some time to think: there’s that project I need to complete at work; oh right, I need to prepare for that presentation on Monday; I should probably look at Angie’s List for a contractor for the bathroom; I wonder how my retirement account is doing.

In the backseat, my nieces roared in laughter. They have been talking about Year Walk, some game based on a Swedish folklore called Arsgang. Now and then, they would switch to rumors they heard at school.

“Oh, did you see what Ryan did on his Snapchat?”

“I hope I don’t get Mrs. Gull for homeroom this year.”

Their carefree banter about games, school, and life as 13 years olds made me laugh. Oh, if you only knew what lies ahead. Oh if you only knew about work life balance, about home ownership, about financial worries, and etc. 

Then it hit me: at 13, this is probably what I would talk and think about too. Certainly, their thoughts would evolve and mature as life progresses, and eventually when they reach my age, their thoughts would revolve around the same topics I’m ruminating about now.

If that holds true, then my thoughts would evolve over time as well. I wondered what my mom must be thinking about now. What worried her? What made her laugh? I could see myself in her train of thoughts.

I smiled.

As different as we may be, we, for the most part, share in this common experience of growing and evolving. Through the various stages of our lives, we inevitably converge on the same kinds of thoughts – we have to, right?

And it’s this common experience that ultimately serves as the bond that brings us together. This very human experience.

Suddenly, I felt more connected to the world. And the unknown future became clearer. I look forward to sharing the experience with those who have walked this path before me.