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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Harrington

What is everyone doing?!

This is the view from the top of my new apartment in NYC.

From the roof, I can peer into thousands of peoples' lives. I can see dozens of people watching the Yankees game, others eating from bowls on their couches, working out on stationary bikes, dancing, laughing, talking, and cleaning.

In a city that seems so big (I'm just one of 8+ million) there's something really comforting, and intimate about having all these lit up windows so close to me💡

I'm not alone; lives are unraveling in every corner of the buildings. Even if I don't know these people...(and trust me, I literally moved here 6 weeks ago, I don't know anyone in these buildings)...there's an abundance of people. And, to me, that's comforting.

There's the possibility I could meet them that's exciting. And, there's the reality of: it'd be impossible to meet everyone.

It's sort of like an "antilibrary", first coined by scholar Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which is the idea that your library of books at home should include books you've read and an abundance of books you haven't read to serve as a visual reminder of the possibility of knowledge left in the world. Our unread books keep us intellectually "curious and humble.”

Looking at all these windows is a visual reminder of all the people I COULD meet. The flickering lights and bodies moving in the shadows represent the unknown, surprise, and possibility of connection.

I'm not frustrated that I won't cross paths with everyone, but instead, curious about the potential and inspiration of "what if".

  • Writer's pictureTaylor Harrington

A couple of years ago, Ben Platt wrote a song called, "Grow As We Go". There are two lines that have stuck with me since the first time I heard it. I remember exactly where I was driving through Pennsylvania on a solo roadtrip when I heard this song. I kept hitting "rewind 15 seconds" to hear these two lines again and again. "I don't know how this river runs

But I'd like the company through every twist and turn"

Life is full of unknowns. With so much uncertainty ahead, we get to decide who we want to bring along with us on the journey. Who's invested in coming with us as we flow through that unknown? What a special opportunity to be there for someone. To be the company somebody needs.

  • Writer's pictureTaylor Harrington

Difference makers aren't always loud. Sometimes they're quiet and anonymous. Yet, their impact is profound.

When COVID-19 changed the world we lived in, the family who lives in the white house on the corner became heroes in my bubble of life. Just to the right of their mailbox they have a bright blue Little Free Library. It's been there for years, but in the last year, I've appreciated it on another level.

I took this picture of the library on March 18th, 2020. It was about half a mile to walk to this book-filled "tiny house" from my family's home in Connecticut. During the lockdown, visiting the books became a motivator. It gave me purpose. I would walk and see if new books were added and if others left and had a new home. I felt connected to the other people who must have been visiting this same spot, even though we didn't cross paths. The people who started this Little Free Library were silent difference makers for months of my life and still don't know it. I've never met them or seen them. Not only did they help me find motivation and purpose, they inspired me to be a silence difference maker in new ways. In May 2020, the Little Free Library owners inspired me to also begin painting rocks. I knew the joy I felt in seeing a sign of something positive and that someone had been in the same spot as me. So, I hand-painted lady bugs on dozens and dozens of small rocks and then scattered them all over nearby towns (and even farther once things opened up and I was able to travel a bit farther). Lady bugs have been a positive, lucky symbol in my life for a long time. I found purpose in spreading these little "joy bugs", as I called them. Even though I didn't know the impact they would make on someone's day, I could imagine the possibility based on how I felt with the books. Silence difference makers are powerful leaders who can create a lasting domino effect. We all have the chance to step up and be them. You don't need permission. And, sometimes, we get the chance to say thank you like I plan to today. The family with the white house deserves to know what they gave me through establishing this neighborhood book swap hub. The world would be kinder with more silence difference makers. People who aren't seeking the attention of making an impact, but instead do it because they know the power of that feeling and that it can inspire more kindness in the world.

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