life re-told

"go to university and become well-educated. get a job. i wouldn't go into music because it is such a fickle industry. but i wouldn't shoot so lofty as a lawyer because you want to see your family once in awhile, right? speaking of family, don't wait too long to get married but don't get married until after you graduate college, okay? and you should wait two to five years to have kids. and then don't stop at one kid but don't go past three kids."

this is what the people say, the public says, your mother tells you. it all comes from good intentions; they want you to have the best and be the best and live your best. but what makes something "the best?" because shouldn't one person's best be different from another?

i once read a beautiful quote by alan keightley. it struck me so deep that i often still come back to it. it reads: once in awhile it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in the way they have always been told.

how have you always been told to live?

in america at least, the way to live is via a career. that's all we talk about: who works where, how far they are up in the company, guesstimating how much money they make annually. we live to work. it's where we find fulfillment. or where we are told we should.

my fascination for french culture has led me to the study of their ways and customs. i have read that their view on work is much different from the average american's. one author i read claimed it was unheard of to ask someone their occupation on first meeting. instead, you find out who they are as a person; their political views, opinion on recent films or books.

hearing about how the french communicate struck me. the way i first interact with people is generally by a list, a list of questions, and then they are ranked by how they answer. the list goes like this: how old are you? (if of school age) where do you go to school? what are you majoring in? what do you want to do with that? (if of working age) what do you do? what all does that involve?

not until i am in friendship with the person do i dive into more matters of the heart, or even just interesting things about them, like their opinions.

to sum it all up, this is what i am challenging you and myself to do: let's not sum people up by their day job. that does not make them who they are. let's get to know people and form an opinion of them based on how they treat others, how they spend their time, what their worldview is.

there is more to life than what we have been taught. we can live life in a different way than we've been told. the choice is up to us.