SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 227: “We Survived And It Was A Great Time”

“I’m talking to you because you spoke to me.” TJ greets me with a welcoming presence.

I speak often of walking the world with chin up and eyes open to the people around us. And today, the table refreshingly turns, where in a project in which nine times out of ten I am first to link eye contact with the people around me, TJ beats me to the punch when he recognizes my daughter and I within a park filled with hundreds of people.

TJ lives by a mantra of outreach, “We all need to talk to each other. Too many people are afraid to speak.” If more of us did, we would understand each other better and would probably fight less.”

But there is more to speaking than merely orating words, and by the interest TJ shows in 365, we discuss a secondary process of communication that equals the power of speech… that process… the ability to listen.

Communication, as brought to us by yesterday’s friend Linda, is the key. And no healthy rapport can ever be achieved with any one-sided narrative.

“People need to be more open,” TJ elaborates in explaining his stance on society and the oncoming years.

“I look at people and the future with and empty slate, I suppose I am an optimist.”

Optimist is almost an understatement in describing TJ, as evident in his description of the future, “It is going to be an amazing place.”

“An amazing place!” TJ calls it. What a wonderful outlook, and on a planet where there is so much strife aside all of its majesty and wonder, it is empowering to meet a man who truly sees light in every circumstance.

“What about all the contention in the world and those who say there are dark times ahead?” I inquire.

With intellectual ease TJ responds, “Yes, there are going to be people who don’t see it.”

He backs up his reply with an analogy, “’It’s like people fifty years ago could not fully predict where we are now. So to, can we not fully predict what is to come… can we?

Thousands of years ago they were saying the end of the world was near, and we are still here.

I predict that in fifty years we are going to look back and say, ‘we survived and it was a great time.’”

My hopes are with TJ, not just for myself, but more importantly, for the sake of our generations to come.

TJ, we appreciate your optimism, keep sharing, my friend.