I’m the type of person who likes to have something to look forward to. I keep a countdown app in my phone to remind me of important things that are coming up. It makes the time pass quicker and helps with motivation. Yesterday I got back to the States after spending almost two weeks on a cruise in Europe. It was something that I’ve wanted to do for the longest and I even turned down a job in order to have the time free. The trip taught me so much as I had the opportunity to eat some real food and experience a small taste of how people live in other parts of the world. It was amazing to see sights that I had only seen in books or online. I had the opportunity to see Michaelangelos’ sculpture “The David” in person and it was absolutely breathtaking. I had pizza in Rome and Gelato in Florence and tasted part of a cannoli in Messina. One thing I love about traveling is that there’s always something to look forward to. Each day is markedly different than the last. There’s absolutely nothing like it. My worldview has definitely been expanded once again and I can’t wait for the next adventure.
I found this great article that I thought was especially relevant. You can read it here. I’ve have a variety of work experiences in my limited years of officially being in the workforce. One of the first things I discovered is that it’s nowhere as glamorous as the TV shows make it out to be. Yeah, it’s nice to be able to pay bills on time but in reality the day to day grind is typically pretty stressful. The author in this post asserts that it’s ok to get personal on the job. I agree to some extent because I know people who consider their coworkers to be extensions of their own family. It’s refreshing to work with a group of people you know well. However, it’s also nice to not feel obligated to invite your coworkers to events like your birthday party or wedding and be pleasant without sharing every detail of your life with those who work with you. The author of this article also mentions poor performance and culture as one of the reasons that millennials are frustrated. I think that a lot of people in my age bracket are realizing that having a job isn’t really all that it’s cracked up to be. Waking up at an ungodly hour on a Monday morning to slave away for the next 8 hours and then repeat for the next 4 days in a roll isn’t exactly the definition of having a good quality of life. Unlike many of the generations before me, I can’t imagine spending 40 years or more in the same position. Many young adults are more focused on doing something that makes an actual difference in the world instead of just clocking in. It’s more about the journey than the end goal (retirement) these days.
One of the few perks of working a job with ungodly hours is the fact that there are times where I have a little bit of time during the week to do my own thing. Last week, in the spirit of my goal of traveling a lot more this year (as always) I made a quick trip back to the South to do some laundry and get my hair done by someone halfway competent. I don’t normally go halfway across the continent to do laundry and chill for all of one day but the flight was free and the checked bags were free and it certainly beat a trip to the laundromat contemplating the intricacies of my life while waiting for my clothes to dry and wasting an afternoon. But I digress. Other than the unseasonably bitter cold that happened to be the current climate at the time, I had an interesting experience right fresh off the plane. I went with the other passengers in the mad rush to the baggage claim only to stand around for about a half out before the bags were put on the conveyor belt. Since the biggest goal of my trip was doing laundry, I didn’t really pack a lot. I just dumped my dirty clothes hamper into the biggest suitcase I had and lugged it with me. Wonderful strategy. So my bag finally appears on the belt and at that point I was just ready to grab it and go. Mind you, it’s a pretty good sized suitcase but not so big that I can’t pick it up. It’s just bulky. So as I’m reaching for my bag I see a hand in my peripheral vision but ignoring its relevance to my situation I just ignore it and heft the bag over the belt onto the ground and come eye to eye with a man who looks pissed off. He immediately starts to chastise me for not allowing him to get my bag off the belt. He vehemently reminds me that I’m now in the South and that there’s no excuse for me not to allow a man to get my bed because chivalry is still alive and well. I was pleasantly amused by the experience and it was a nice reminder that there are some really good qualities about Southern culture. It’s funny how much you can miss those little things when you don’t live in that environment anymore but it’s also interesting how you learn to adapt and go without them because they aren’t even an option. If anything like that happened where I live it would be a big deal because it is SO rare. Even the nice gesture of having doors opened surprises me every time that it happens because it is not a common occurrence. Definitely a contrast to the societal norms of the South.
Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who has a fairly successful consulting business and we were discussing marketing strategies. I asked him about doing more mainstream advertising in order to gain more visibility in the local area—an idea that he quickly shut down. I asked him his reason and he told me that he wanted to be able to control who he works with. Hence, he wanted to be able to be picky with the clients he chooses to help. And then, in typical friend fashion, he proceeded to tell me about how I was exclusive as well. I think that part of human nature is to surround ourselves with people who share common interests with us. We belong to groups of people who look the same way as us, do the same things as us, and think the same way that we do. Doing this isolates us with our own kind and tends to make us exclusive in our little groups. You can’t really get more exclusive than growing up homeschooled. Your peers are your siblings and the only clique that exists is the one that you make. My entire high school experience consisted of doing homework on my bed with my dog beside me. To top it off, after high school I went to a small private school for college which was a small subculture in itself. The majority of the students, faculty, and administrators adhered (or at least claimed) to a certain set of beliefs that were very unique and also very distinguishable when compared to the mainstream typical college culture. The uniqueness of this environment lent itself to an attitude of exclusiveness because of the beliefs and practices that set the whole school apart from thousands of others. We have tons of inside jokes that would make absolutely no sense to anyone who has not been exposed to the school, its beliefs, or the accompanying subculture. All this being said, exclusiveness exists everywhere. Life consists of socialization and relationships with various people in groups. Point blank. But it’s also important to take time out to get out of our own little bubble and meet people who aren’t like us. Instead of hanging with people who we identify with, we need to take the time to talk to people who we want to identify with one day. A wise person once said to hang with people who have your solution and not your problems. Being exclusive may work for a while and it may even be to your benefit at times, but at the end of the day you separate yourself from people and experiences that could be opportunities to grow.