Pen to Paper, fingers to keyboard, what are they writing?
Flying home from New York (JFK) to Atlanta I notice two people seated one before the other along the aisle. Each in deep focus, broad, yet one can see, a different approach.
The woman in 25E, MacBook powered up, PowerPoint open, scrolling through presentations, spreadsheets, listening to her air buds, frequently pausing, raising her hand to her face, searching graphics, tapping backspace, edit and delete.
The gentleman in 26E, leather-bound journal open, fine point ink pen, listening to Spotify on his AirPods. He often runs his hands through his hair, looking up, biting the end of his pen, flipping to the back of his journal, test the ink, and flipping back to continue where he left off. Many times, looking deep into the words written out before him in the journal, many times appearing to be lost in thought. He strikes through words deemed unnecessary, looking up something on his phone, in the underlit halogen lighting of the plane (764). A glance up, pause, the pen back to the paper, he continues letting his consciousness flow.
What perplexed me? I gaze at them both before me, he with his head resting on the palm of his hand, looking deep in thought at each word scribed in his journal. She was adjusting the font size and placement of graphics in her PowerPoint. These two individuals are capturing ideas, yet in stark contrast. His deleting and edit is a scribble on paper, bleeding through to the back of the page. Her creativity is adding a graphic or icon to a template. One can presume, her diligence on this late night flight is to deliver a work power point while the gent is capturing some thoughts in his journal. Looking outside, one can never know.
The art of handwritten notes, letters, lists and much more is losing its base in the world. An avid owner of custom stationery, fountain pens, and a typewriter, yes, a typewriter. Why? I wish I could, but I don’t really know other than I know how I feel when I receive something tangible, holding in my hand versus an email, text or Facebook post.
I will never know what 26E was scribing, but between the two seatmates, I’d prefer being lost in my own thoughts. That challenge of looking back with an attempt to decipher my words, the scribbles. At this point, this second, the ink has been placed on his page, it doesn’t change with a backspace, or delete. The ink dries. I ponder what 26E scribed, but alas, he continues to write, I remain in nostalgia.
In life, each second that passes, the ink dries. We aren’t afforded a backspace, edit, delete, new document. We can look back on the journey, learn from the mistakes, the scribbled out moments. Perhaps a moment we attempt to scribble out, we know deep inside will always be a big impression in the paper. The instances in life where we can’t change the past instead of taking time to understand the learning. Each day is a new page, each hour a new line, each stroke, a new second. We afforded to determine what is written before us, too often we opt not to yield time to pause. The world is moving around us, yet, it’s not the world around us, it’s the world that is before us.
Quote by the brilliant Anthony Bourdain;
“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
I continue to walk the earth today on my relentless journey to define The Human Element.
Be humble, be grateful, be true to you.