This week, I had the privilege of attending Prix Jeunesse Suitcase, an encapsulated version of the international children's film festival that brings together children's content from all over the world. In the several hours I was there, I saw documentaries of child refugees building lives, with or without their families, in storage containers and tents and public parks. I saw stories that made clear that not all schools in the world operate the same way as U.S. schools. I saw despair and hope and new ways to think about childhood and about the world. And very little of this was anything that I had seen in my work in news.
At the event, I also spoke with various children's media professionals I had met when way back when I had more time to attend events regularly. Even just brief conversations made it clear that my place in the world is quite different than it once was. Once, I connected. I could see a particular future. I fit. But this time, the fit was gone. I had clearly walked so far away that it might take many days, even months, to return.
What's up in the world? Clearly, a lot more than I am seeing each day. The people I once knew have moved on, and, I suppose, so have I. But my time at Prix Jeunesse Suitcase allowed me to see, in more ways than one, the importance of looking at "what's up in the world" from a vantage point other than our own window or the computer screen in front of us. The films reminded me how many stories are waiting to be told, and that someday, perhaps I will tell one of them. And the people reminded me that, while I may not be who I once was, I am not just the person that I am today, and that I could be someone else tomorrow if I so chose.
What's up in the world? If we look around us, rather than just straight ahead, it may be a lot more than we realize.