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Life Lessons from a Train Ride: A Journey through Existence and Experience

A lone figure sitting by a train window, gazing at a passing landscape, encapsulating thought and movement.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, October 23, 2023, 08:51

As the wheels of the train grind steadily beneath me, the crisp 5°C morning air brushes past the window beyond my gaze, bent firmly on my laptop screen. Memories, thoughts, considerations and lessons learned jockey for position, each one begging for a moment's contemplation, a fragment of digital preservation. The serenity of the passing Norwegian landscapes becomes an ironic contrast as I contemplate my topic for the day: life lessons I’ve learnt so far.

Life, as I’ve come to understand, is less a journey predetermined and more a path spontaneously awakened and discovered with each step taken. The tracks upon which my train travels bear an uncanny resemblance to the realm of existence, laid by the craftsman’s intent yet shaped and scarred by time and experience.

Indeed, the first gem I've uncovered in my life's rocky field is that patience is more of a savior than a mere virtue. Hastened decisions, panic, prompt judgement can often lead to a network of disappointment and regrets. Like waiting for a train to arrive, we must learn the art of mastering our pace, synchronizing it with life's tempo, understanding that hour hands can't be budged by mere will.

Yesterday’s news in the train was filled with the mirth of a local celebration; today, it is stained by the anguish carried from Stavanger. Two souls, found within the crosshairs of Cupid’s malevolent cousin, now lay in hospital beds. A grim reminder: life remains beautifully unpredictable and fickle in its dispensation. Embracing the uncertainty of life, while keeping a steady heart, is another lesson learned on this winding, unpredictable route.

The events this morning convey yet another lesson: consequences are real. Although the alleged shooter now sits in police custody, the echoes of his presumably momentary lapse in judgement reverberate within both the victims and himself, as well as ripple out, impacting countless others. Acts of magnitude, born from moments of decision, are not simply erasable blemishes on life’s narrative; they etch deep into its ongoing script. It's an eye-opener, learning that our actions invariably create ripples in the vast pond of existence.

On a similar note, but with an oddly positive spin, the incident sheds light on the interconnectivity of all things. An event in Stavanger seeps its way into the veins of news, threading together the lives of countless different people reading the same sentence, feeling a similar mix of emotions, weaving a tapestry of shared human experience. It’s a stark reminder: we are threads in the same carpet, waves in the same ocean. No matter how isolated we sometimes feel, we never truly are.

The train slows. I lean back, close my eyes for a swift moment. Opening them again, I glance once more at the passing Norwegian landscapes, whose serene beauty - to the hurried eyes, could easily be reduced to a blur of green and blue. It makes me think: Slow down – Unplug. Appreciate. Be in the present. A constant yet endearing reminder from life.

As the train pulls into the heart of Oslo, and my final destination of the day looms into view, I’m reminded of the final lesson for the day — the journey holds just as much significance, if not more, than the destination.

The lessons learned so far are an unexpected culmination of time and experience, a twisted blend of beautiful serendipities and bruising reality checks. Life, it seems, is a teacher both gentle and harsh - but a teacher we’d be wise to listen to nonetheless.

As I pack away my laptop, readying myself for another day at the university, I take a moment to appreciate the spaces between. The pauses, the transitions and the silences. For it's in these spaces between pages, letters, words and sounds that our beautiful, strange, poignant stories reside. The train halts. I smile, step off, and step into the continuation of my story.

Another day, another lesson, another trip on life's grand train.

Tags: life lessons personal reflection Norway travel

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