You will make a difference

This Friday I found myself on a railway station platform a little after 10pm. I was coming back from a networking event, and I was feeling rather smiley and pretty friendly, so when a man on the opposite platform smiled I didn’t feel particularly shy or antisocial, so I smiled back.

Not very long afterwards, the man on the other platform decided he wanted to talk to my friend and me, so crossed over. A bit bizarre, I’d say, but talking to people is supposed to be part of my future job aside from being “what people do”.

Turned out he was a computer programmer, rather unhappy with his job – not surprising since he was going home at 10pm on a Friday – and said he’d prefer to sweep the streets and meet interesting people whilst doing it. Hello Friday evening wake-up call.

To put it this way, he was older than me, at an age when in my ideally planned perfect life, I would have earned enough money to retire early and spend my time writing my memoir or travelling the world – and eating scones without ever getting fat.

The fact that he was willing to cross over to a different platform to talk to a stranger about it just because they happened to smile and look kind just really made me ask a hell of a lot more questions about life and where I am going to be in 20 years.

He asked me what I was doing for a living, and when I said I was a journalism student he immediately replied “you will make a difference”. Like he could tell from the way I said it, or the look I had on my face when I said it, that I was also in a moment of uncertainty and life-evaluation.

Or maybe he’s just good at telling people what they want to hear, because yes I do want to make a difference, and I do want to be remembered. We all want that, and in the end we will all succeed. Because as long as we are kind and decent human beings, we will be alive forever in people’s hearts and memories.

As for whether I’ll make a difference as a journalist, that remains to be seen. Hopefully I will make a difference as a friend to someone.