Questions and Small Talk: Part II

Whether you were up high in your career and took a fall or you haven’t gotten to your career; whether you are a Millennial or Gen X; I’m sure you know someone or you yourself have found this rut. The rut where you try door after door and nothing comes of it. The windows let in light but not much else. All exits seem to be shut, locked and guarded. Now what?

Many a time I have cried on a friend’s shoulder, screamed obscenities into my pillow, took in everyone’s advice, was overly responsible and knocked on every door of opportunity…all to no avail. Does this mean that I have failed as an adult?

But I don’t believe this is what defines whether I’m successful or not. I’m sorry, but that is not what warrants those questions of disapproval, because they only bring discouragement. Neither I, nor anyone else, should be defined by whether we are “making it” or not. I define myself by who I am as a person. My journey through hardships, the love and laughter through the years — this is who I am.

So what then makes a person successful? What makes a person truly happy? At what point does one “have it all”? Can we really define that for another human being?

My journey has had a variety of paths and experiences; I’m in a different place than my peers, but is that wrong? Is that unsuccessful? I have a life with adventure and experience that I don’t regret. While it hasn’t been a bowl full of cherries, I would not trade this life of mine for another.

The hit show Friends encountered hardships a few times. Joey falls from being a Soap Opera character to working at the coffee shop. Monica goes from being Head Chef to working as a waitress at a local diner. Even Ross was unemployed for a time. We cannot take anything we have for granted — any position, any good fortune or blessing — we can only live one day at a time giving thanks for what we have.

Why are we so quick to judge and criticize, and yet when the questions are turned around can the other person take the heat? A married person will ask how my love life is going (because this is open for discussion?). I’d love nothing more than to turn that around to them and ask how their intimate life is going – probably not appropriate, but extremely tempting nevertheless ha! If we could admit to each other that no one person has their life figured out, wouldn’t it make for better small talk?

And while I’m on this subject, may we get rid of “small talk” altogether? I would love to see real questions and real answers and real relationships grow between communities. Wouldn’t our days be so much richer if we could invest our time knowing what another actually was going through?

We all have ups and downs, good days and bad days, hard times and memorable moments. Let’s celebrate and comfort and encourage one another on whatever level we adults find ourselves.

Here’s to the individuals on their own path — may we enjoy the ride!

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