This week I found myself having to justify the dichotomy between what I do to feed my bank account and the things I do outside of work which feed my soul. And this was with a person who has already had to work hard to make the thing they are passionate about their job. So they really should know better than to assume that what someone does in their day to day to make money automatically defines who they are as a human being.
But I guess we are all guilty of this on occasion. We probably all have asked a new acquaintance “So what do you do?”, and then we layer all sorts of assumptions on them as a person, based entirely on their response – when really “What matters to you?” would be a far more revealing and insightful question. If the person in question is incredibly lucky or has always had a laser-beam focus on achieving their dream career, the answers to those two questions may align. But more often than not they won’t.
It reminded me of a a team building day I once attended many years ago. One of the activities we were asked to participate in was to hand out little cards with statements written on them reflecting particular skills or strengths – the idea being we offer these cards to our colleagues to demonstrate what we felt they contributed most to the team.
This was an interesting task for sure, and I was handed a few cards from unexpected sources, which both surprised and heartened me. People who I would never have imagined would see any worth in me or my skills whatsoever. And I very gratefully received these offerings. We were however allowed to reject cards we were presented if we did not think they were a good fit for us. And one particular card I was offered really rankled with me – despite its seemingly positive message.
The statement on that card made suggestions about me as a human being, insinuations about how I approach my entire life, as opposed to what I just happen to do in the office because it is my job. As I said to the man who handed me that card, with those things written on it that he was so sure defined me as a person:
“I know that is what I do,
But that is not who I am”
I was reminded of this event this week, when once again I was judged for the skills I have and use at work rather than the person sitting right there having a conversation. Someone who couldn’t quite fathom why I was taking the path I was choosing in life.
If I could have explained I might have said …
This Is Not My Pot
To the man who handed me that card …
This is not my pot
I know you think I belong in here
That this is my correct container
But let me please explain here
This is not my pot
Just, right now, it is what I have got
And yes, my blooms appear blue
But they aren’t meant to be blue
They are meant to be yellow
But this is how they grew
I hope one day to change their hue
But for now, because they need to be
My flowers are all blue.
And now, once again
My foliage is being judged
With prodding and glowering
At my complicated flowering
For now they have a yellow tinge
With blue shades still around the rim
But pure yellow glowing at their heart
Yet you cannot tell the shades apart?
You hear blue, so you see blue
You don’t see that the needs of today were just blue
But in my spare time, open air time, don’t have to be “That person” time
I am yellow
Through and through
It is just sometimes appropriate to be blue
You don’t get that do you?
That was not my pot
And since then
My stems have grown a lot
My soil has been enriched
My blue buds have been switched
And now this is what I’ve got
Yellow flowers with an edging of blue
And I’m comfortable with that look
You will come to see it too
Or not …
It matters not one jot
That is simply not my pot
Copyright 2018 · Forty and Everything After