You surely know the only puzzler: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
What do you think? These are the kinds of questions that philosophers can sit around and ponder, quander, or some might say squander our time over.
I was thinking recently about the things I do alone. Most are more or less by choice. Many times I’d rather have companions along for the ride. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.
Individualist is strong in my enneagram. I am prone to do things by myself. Sometimes to a fault. Once in a while, though, it gets to me.
Take for example my recent triathlon experience. I was originally scheduled to do this with a few different people. For one reason or another, each of these people were unable to do it that weekend. I had a choice…go it alone or wait until another chance to do an event like this came along.
I was on the fence about it for a while. I really didn’t want to go do it by myself, but I also didn’t want to miss out on my chance to do it. I’m getting to the point with many things in my life where I say, if not now, who knows when the opportunity will come around again?
I ended up doing it and after I completed it I was glad that I did. Still, the experience would have been more fun to share with a friend. To ask if they had seen the turtle on the bike course and felt the same kinship with that slow moving animal. Did you smell the water treatment plant too? Yuck! How was the run for you? How was the swim? Did you do the water slide at the end? I might have been able to take some pics of them.
I do see the value in going it alone, but there is also beauty in shared stories, shared memories, shared moments. Both have value. Neither can be replaced.
After the race I knew I needed coffee. As is my habit, I looked on yelp and found a local coffee shop a couple of blocks away. Completely by surprise, I passed a mural by a well-known artist. I stopped to take a selfie with it, but of course could not fit in the amazing piece at arm’s length. Luckily a nice young man saw me. A military person from the nearby base. He called out and asked if he could take my picture for me. He said it was just so sad to see me trying to get a photo of myself alone. And he was right.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? If you do something amazing and no one was there to share it with you, does it make a memory?
I’m grateful for the man who saw my struggle and helped capture me with my new set of wings. Hopefully next time some loved ones will also be there to share in it and we can lift each other up.