I was on my way to work when I thought about The Egg.

If you haven’t read The Egg, you should go do that right now, because:

  1. The rest of this post won’t make sense if you don’t know the story.
  2. It is a three-minute experience you do not want spoiled and I am absolutely going to spoil it.

There’s a happiness exercise I try to do, whenever I remember, where I pick two to three people at a time (some I know well, some literal strangers) and I think to myself over and over again I want this person to be happy.

This exercise is moderately successful. It doesn’t stop me from thinking of other people as, well, other people. But of course it doesn’t. That was never its goal.

I was on my way to work when I thought about The Egg.

The message of The Egg is not that you should wish for other people to be happy, or that you should try to make other people happy and in doing so find happiness for yourself. The message of The Egg is that there are no other people, only you.

Well, only me.

Same thing.

I am my Uber driver, and I am the firstborn he’s having in November. I am the second passenger, who grew up in Beirut on city blocks surrounded by men with machine guns and thinks we should have snipers at music festivals after what happened in Mandalay Bay. I every mass shooter and every life they’ve destroyed and I am every first responder and every Twitter user spreading misinformation and making accusations.

I am everyone I’ve ever looked up to, and I am everyone I’ve ever disparaged or condescended.

In all of my lives I had experiences that led me to the decisions I eventually made, and that doesn’t lead me to conclude that I am any less worthy of damnation or admiration but it does preclude me from discarding the humanity I share with all the lives I’ve ever lived.

It doesn’t mean I can’t hate. It doesn’t mean I can’t wish for an end to the evil men and women of this world. It does mean I don’t get to think of them as a distant or uninterpretable monstrosity. It means I have to acknowledge that I can be a complete person with two rescue dogs and a memory of spending five days in Shanghai with an art collector from Barcelona and I can still look into the eyes of a crowd through the windshield of my van and floor the accelerator.

It means I don’t have to be Hamilton or Rockefeller or the twenty-year-olds I tell myself had opportunities I didn’t or the thirty-year-olds I tell myself I can still catch up to if I try. It means I don’t have to fight to stay in America, I don’t have to start a company, I don’t have to be a better dancer, I don’t have to be rich and famous, because I’ve already lived those lives and done those things, and I don’t have to do them again unless I want to and now I am free to discover the personal legend I was meant to fulfill in this life.

It means you don’t only live once. But you only get to experience, once, all the gifts you’ve been given, in the time you’ve been given to make something of them.

Or the time I’ve been given to make something of them.

You get me.


Part 1: The Egg
Part 2: Egg IRL

Inspiration:

For the record, I still do want to be rich and famous, because I don’t quite remember what it was like to be those things but I suspect it was fun and also in this lifetime I have an appreciation for expensive things and being the center of attention.