Now that I've changed jobs (yep, I'm now super duper shop girl at a picture framing place), I'm getting to know a whole new range of customers. Strangely enough, I've bumped into a bunch of old high school friends in the process. While it's been good to catch up, I've been struck by how much we define ourselves by work. For example, the other day I asked a girl who I had known in Grade 6 (waaaay too many years ago!!) what she was up to these days. Her first response was that she was a business manager for so and so company. Then when she asked me what I was doing, she looked around the shop and said, "Well, obviously you are HERE". This was a perfectly nice exchange but it got me to thinking that, yeah, I AM here in a framing shop but it's not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of who I am (or where I'm at). I'm definitely not trying to say that achieving great things through your job is a bad thing. In fact, it's ace. If you enjoy what you do and it means something to you, go for it. My issue is with the idea that work is the ONLY thing that matters. The only currency worth taking notice of. It's a dangerous thing, to simply define yourself (and your worth as a person) by your work and/or how much money you make. I admit, I have been very guilty of it in the past. I have spent too much of my life thinking that I should have a big house, a fancy car, two fancy kids and money to burn. Because that's what is easy to understand as success. Having those things means that you've made it, that you're SOMEBODY. Right?
Wrong. What happens when all those material things are taken away? Who are you if you lose your job? Your fancy car? And your fancy money? What are you left with, if the very thing that defined you and your place in the world is gone? I don't want to fall into this trap. Even though I have two uni degrees I've spent the last four years working retail - a job that most people would think is pretty low on the food chain. But, for me, that job is a JOB. That's all. A way to help me live my life the way I want. Which is to be happy, have time to bake and sew, hang out with my husband, travel, enjoy sunny days. I am happy to rent my amazing little apartment. I am happy to have an old but extremely GOOD car. I am happy to have a job that allows me to have food on the table and a warm heater in winter. Most of all, I am happy to have meaning in my life. So, old friends, when we chat, let's speak of the things that we truly are. The things that have made us. Not just our jobs and our worldly possessions.
Some of you may know that I'm getting another tattoo (hopefully at this place) and some of my reasoning behind it relates to these ideas of who we truly are. I've chosen to get a sparrow with the word "izturiba" under it. The sparrow is kinda like my totem animal. Ever since I was a kid I've always liked these little birds. Sparrows are small, hard working, unassuming, always there in the background. They remind me that it is okay to be small, to live life simply, to take pride in what you do. We spend so much time and energy trying to show others how big we are, how successful, how beautiful, that we lose track of the things that really matter. I want to be reminded of this every day. To pull back my focus and hone in on life. The word "izturiba" is Latvian (a special nod to my lovely grandparents) for durability and/or stamina. This is to remind me to keep going, even when times are tough. Stick with it cos life is good!
While I was blog surfing this morning I finally found out who is responsible for these lovely knitted bike rack cozies. They are awesome!! See them just outside Parliament Lawns in Salamanca.