“When was the last time…

28 Oct

a moment took your breath away?”

I like this question.  Or, any question really.  Any question that is about a story and not a label

This question came from a recent article (Thanks J.!) I read at CNN.com.  The author, Granderson, investigates how it has become commonplace in our society to open a conversation with inquiry about career.  Except this does not really serve us.  Not in that oatmeal, happy-place kind of way.  I especially like how Granderson problematizes the latent (accepted) judgments that come in tow with ‘what do you do?’ career questions.

“Since the end of the 20th century, “What do you do for a living?” has ceased to be an inquiry about how someone spends their time during normal business hours and instead serves as a slightly grating, socially acceptable manner in which we remind each other of the stuff we don’t have or will never get.

We may understand that money does not buy happiness, but over the past few decades that notion has been competing against a message that at every turn tells us we can’t be happy without it. This dichotomy has slowly disconnected the American dream from the idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and attached it to one’s ability to move up the ladder.”

(Hint:  You can be happy.  It’s called self-respect.  It’s called friendships.  It’s called love.)

Importantly, Granderson speaks about “getting back to what it means to be human as opposed to a consumer.”  Thank you Granderson.  How beautifully put.

But.  There is work to do.  He comments:

“Last week, in roughly 36 hours, I went from sipping coffee at a Starbucks in a midsized city in Michigan, to ordering overpriced cocktails at a posh hotel lounge in Beverly Hills, to shaking my head disapprovingly as I drove by Confederate flags that still flap in the wind in Jackson, Mississippi.

Along the way I found myself engaged in a number of casual conversations with some of my favorite kind of people — strangers.

It would make sense that folks from the Midwest, West Coast and Deep South would have radically different approaches to life — and in many ways they do — but what I found amusing was that regardless of the ZIP code, it did not take long for the person I was talking to ask me what I do for a living.

In some cases in Beverly Hills, they wanted to know that before they knew my name.

It all seemed so callous and fake.

Then I remembered “what you do” is the new “who you are.””

Now it just all seemed so sad.

We can DO better.

How are you? 

When was the last time a moment took your breath away? 🙂

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2 Responses to ““When was the last time…”

  1. passionfortruths October 31, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Hi,

    I think being happy does not really require physical action … No doing but just being. A shifting of thoughts to happiness. The choice is always available to us, right?

    Jay

    • Jamie October 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      I TOTALLY agree! But, I do think when our actions line up with our values then we feel better! — happier if you will. Thanks for your thoughts and for stopping by. Have a sweet one 🙂

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