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What's it like out there?

Sitting on the shore of an ocean, it's easy to simply sit and wonder what it's like out there. I imagine there is a world so distant and so different from my own.

Once we realized we were sitting on the edge of a galaxy, we sent probes into space wondering the same question. In 1977, we figured out a way to send a golden record out into the solar system with 115 images, snippets of natural (i.e., earthly) audio, greetings in 55 Earth languages and more.

It is in our (very human) nature to wonder about others but we wonder about "them" as it relates to us. We are curious about what we don't know - about them. Who's out there? How do they live? What's the same (as me)? What's different (from me)?

So what did we do? We sent greetings. We introduced ourselves. That's a good beginning and in a one-way communication, it's the best one can do. But what if someone answered us? Well, now we have a two-way communication. And that only works when we listen. That only works when we realize someone is wondering about us EXACTLY the same way we wonder about them.

Don't you want to be listened to? I do. But, then, if I truly want to get to know someone, I must listen to them, with respect.

But you don't have to cross an ocean or a galaxy to communicate with someone from a world so different from your own. You can probably just reach out to a neighbor. Or someone who works in your building or office. Maybe it's a new person in your class, or the person serving you coffee, or in the gym.

Introduce yourself. Start a conversation. Listen. Be respectful of others and of yourself. Maybe you'll discover new life.

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