Even for a Moment
I have been on teams, but I would not consider myself a “team player”. I have been a part of groups, but now belong to very few. While I believe it is important to be kind to people, I do not go out of my way to be a part of their lives in a meaningful way. For me, life is made of moments, and as moments go, they are here and gone in an instant. I try not to confuse worry with prayer. I try not to call a longing for something goal, and I fight hard to experience life from my vantage point and not through the eyes and ears of others. It all seems simple. Sometimes it is not.
This week I went on a trip with a group of people from work. We are not friends that go to the movies on weekends. Some I had met, and some I had not. They are younger than me, and they do things for the company for which I work, in another part of the world. There is a good chance they are brighter than me. There is a good chance they are qualified to do their jobs more so than I am qualified to do mine. There is a good chance they are genuinely better at living their lives than I am at living mine. The certain fact is, they are much younger than me.
There is a benefit that comes with hanging out with people that are smarter than you. There is a benefit that comes with hanging out with people that are in a different age group. What fascinated me, was how different the opinion I had of them after spending two or three days at an event was, than the opinion I had from simply emailing back and forth about issues at work. Granted, this was a work trip and they must have had some mask on, but even if it was a mask, I perceived it in a different way over dinner, than I have in the past through rudimentary communication.
As it happens, these people were much cooler than I had imagined. Suppose for a moment that they were much less cool than I had imagined. My opinion would still only be an opinion. Nouns do not last. People, places, and things, are all impermanent. They may come and go through your life. When one leaves, another will come in its place. What happens while a noun is there is what matters and is what affects you long after it is gone.
I met a lot of people this week. They have shaped me with their smiles, their stories, and their willingness to share a part of themselves. What I shared with my coworkers was different. What we shared, if I afford myself a guess, was a willingness to be together, while remaining individuals. To work towards common goals, while performing individual tasks. To carry the burden of conversation, to share laughter and concerns, and to be more to one another than an email can convey.
This may seem like a overly wordy dissertation on what could just be described as a good business trip, but life is funny for me that way. The group was made up of a person from HR, a person dealing with customer experience (and everything else), a person from marketing, a person from IT, and me. I am not sure if they have a blog. I am not sure what they tell others about the trip. But I have the liberty of going on and on (and on) about what a great time it was, for the two or three people that might be wondering why I have not written in a bit.
What I do know is this. Life is made up of the stories we tell in our heads more than the stories we actually live through. Some say that the stories we tell in our heads actually determine which stories we will live through. All that metaphysical stuff is so appealing to me, but at the same time, so confusing. If I had to boil it down to a few thoughts, it might be, “think happy thoughts, even in unhappy times, and happiness, like every other noun, will return”.
This week was a happy time. Yes, I learned from the event. Yes, it was in a beautiful setting. What I gained was friendship. What I brought home was more than a souvenir. Though it may not have been the intent of the company that sent me, and though it may not be professional to consider such things, what I realized is that the simple things in life are often the most full of wonder. You may know what I do for a living and you may not, but what you can be sure of, is the fact that regardless of what I accomplish in my career, the people I meet and spend time with provide the catalyst for me to carry on.
I would never advise you to cherish those around you because you never know when you will lose them. I would never admonish you to enjoy life now because you never know what might happen. I would never say you should want goodness for others so that you might receive goodness in return. I would, however, with confidence, encourage you to cherish those around you, enjoy life now, and want goodness for others, because it brings peace in a way that striving for what is considered “success” cannot. We are all on a path to something. Enjoy the times when those paths cross. Even for a moment.