I am one of those Type A people far too willing to work who takes way too much pride in being organized, efficient and getting stuff accomplished. We are very useful to the planet 🙂 But we are a sub-species and can go astray and forget the rules of our tribe.
I am trying to learn to slow down sometimes and make sure I smell a few flowers… and, more importantly, that I don’t turn into one of those crazy people who has regrets on their deathbed. A long time ago I heard a phrase that is likely a clique, “no one ever complained on his deathbed that he hadn’t worked enough!”
At the time, I was working almost every moment so it gave me pause for thought. I was still pretty young and my deathbed was likely a long way off but just in case I got hit by a bus, I started to try and remember to make my life about more than just work.
It’s still a struggle at periods like the present when my clients are gunning for regulatory deadlines and I am trying to think how I can feed myself (including groceries and clean up) in less than half an hour without resorting to TV dinners.
But next week is the drop-dead date so closure is starting to happen and I can potentially chill for a couple of hours each day. I seized that opportunity yesterday. It was one of those moments of serendipity. I had mentioned working from anywhere in the world, including while watching the hippos play in the Grumeti River in Tanzania while I ate lunch and beat off the monkeys trying to steal my bread. I have photos from that trip as the background on my laptop so on my way out I asked the executive assistant if she wanted to see the hippos…
I had no idea she had had dreams of being a zoologist, was involved with rescue animals and had always wanted to go on safari… Not only did I once again experience the extra spark from connecting to another human being, we had this fantastic conversation about animal behaviours and how so many of them are not so different to human animal behaviours.
I was going to work a night shift and it was already close to dinner hour so I decided to stop by one of my favourite restaurants to get fed before the night shift started. One of the owners, Erik, came over to say “hi” and I told him I had been there with friends on my birthday but it was a Monday so neither of the owners had been there – but I had told my friends about them.
And he told me he hadn’t been there because he had had a kid! Unfortunately the kid didn’t know it should hang on until Mar 12th to have the best possible birth date – but, as I told Erik, Mar 11th is still pretty good 🙂
And the encounter with Erik completed the day’s experience. As he pointed out, his is a “relationship business”. I need to keep reminding myself to make contact with my own species. To be part of its social norms. To not just run past in a hurry but instead to connect and share. To hear people’s stories. To learn about their secret dreams. To find out they had a first child.
Being involved in the world and paying attention is what kept my grandmother young and vibrant I think. It’s how you get to be the 90 year old talking about taking care of the old people – who are all younger than you. But haven’t spent their life keeping track of details for 200 different people – and being annoyed if you get anything wrong… We are supposed to be the zenith of the animals –she was just using that brain we have all been given 😉