May 15, 2008

Lessons From Kindergarten

Posted in Life tagged , at 9:25 pm by Lindsay

In the play “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”, based off the book by Robert Fulghum, there’s a scene where a teacher is asking a group of kids a series of questions.  When the teacher asks, “Who here can draw well?” the entire class emphatically raises their hands shouting “I can!” and “I’m a great artist!”  The children give the same response when the teacher asks “Who is good at sports?” and “Who here can sing really well?”  Then the kids disappear and are replaced with a classroom full of college kids.  When asked the same set of questions, only one or two raise their hands.  The others respond with statements like “That’s not my major” and “I’ve never taken lessons or anything”. 

 

For me, this scene illustrates a really interesting point about a difference in attitudes at different ages.  Obviously, as we grow older we develop a keener sense of our own talents when compared to others.  No, not everyone in the world can sing “well” or draw “well”.  But why should that stop our enthusiasm?

 

I’ve overheard people being recruited for the church choir say that they’re not a good enough singer to join the choir while expressing an enjoyment of singing.  Who cares if you’re not Renee Fleming??  If you have fun singing, sing!  Same thing with friends wanting to join the intramural leagues in college.  Gee, I really like to play basketball, but I’m not good enough to join a team, they say.  Who cares if you can’t make a three-pointer??  If you have fun playing basketball, play basketball!!

 

I think it’s tragic that when we age, we let our perception of standards inhibit us from enjoying things that we’re not especially talented at.  Think of all the fun we’re missing out on.  Think of all the experiences we’re missing out on.  Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that life isn’t always about being good or being the best, sometimes it’s just about enjoying ourselves.     

May 5, 2008

Making a Life Not a Living

Posted in Life tagged , , at 9:25 pm by Katelyn

If you’ve ever had a job that was not quite your ideal job, you know the feeling that comes with the common question, “what is it that you do?”  That slight drop in your stomach, the eyes that break contact, and the tendency to speak at a much lower frequency in hopes that the questioner will not catch your entire response.  It’s not that we don’t do our jobs well or that we despise them, it’s more that we would rather be responding with the job we have always seen ourselves doing.

It’s moments like these when I wish our society would value people’s lives rather than their positions.  I wish we could respond with what we do when the clock hits 5:00p.m. and our own lives begin.  Aren’t those post-5p.m. activities where we find the most in common with others?  Sure we can make professional contacts by professing our job title, but the true connections are made by finding a similar activity enjoyed outside of work.  Besides, my time outside of work is far more interesting because that is the time when I do my best thinking.  I brainstorm ways to learn and I think long and hard about what job would be my dream job (not all of us know!).

Instead of a project manager, I would respond with, “I am a reader, a singer, a philosopher, a blogger, a runner, an artist…”  These titles tell more of the story of my life than my job title.

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.'”

January 28, 2008

Fun Idea of the Day

Posted in Life tagged , , , at 11:37 am by Lindsay

Got a little extra time on your hands?  Me neither.  But here’s a fun idea that I’ve been dabbling with lately- start a club.  I’ve co-founded two clubs in the last couple of months as a way to fill the void left by an extracurricularless, post-college existence.  For me, the best part of college was the clubs and organizations I got to be a part of.  Now that I’ve graduated, there are no more coffee house College Democrats strategy sessions trying to figure out how to entice students to register to vote (as if the principles of a representative democracy are not enough) or Student Leadership Council retreats to the outback of Tennessee.  But because my yearning for purposeful socialization lives on past my graduation date, I figure, why not start my own clubs?  Nothing fancy, no constitution or Robert’s Rules of Order, just small get-togethers for a common interest. 

The first club is a copycat of an organization seen on the funniest show on television, “The Office”.  On the show, Pam, Toby, and Oscar hold sessions of “The Finer Things Club” where they drink tea out of dainty little teacups, read novels of refinement, and generally enjoy the finer things in life.  My sister and I have started our own chapter, and with patron saint Oscar Wilde watching over us, have been taking time to notice the little things in life, like black americanos with pink-frosted cookies.  Our recent accomplishment is a re-working of the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Films list.  (Since I know you’re curious, in our humble opinion, “Gone With The Wind” is the greatest film ever made.)

The second club was started with my roommate as a way to pursue learning and continuing education after college- the SPI, or Society to Promote Intellectualism.  We made a list of topics that we want to know more about and have always been interested in.  Each week we pick a field, divide up the research, and then report our findings at the meetings.  We’re hoping to mix it up with field trips, attending public lectures, creative writing exercises, and whatever else we come up with.  Funny how it’s not as oppressive as I remember homework being when it’s a result of your own initiative and direction.   

If these things aren’t your bag of tricks, how about a book club, hiking club, scrapbooking club, sushi club, or (insert a hobby here) club?  I use the term club loosely – as in a group of friends who sometimes get together for a particular reason.  Come up with a name and you’re good to go.  Happy clubbing!