Thursday, April 15, 2010

Little Sparrow, Little Sparrow

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.

Today also marks the last day of Kate's fab pin cushion swap. So glad Ruth liked my little package of goodies :D



  1. Oh what a great post! I have experienced something similar to you in the lines of people defining me by my job. It seems to be how we have been conditioned to think. While I've always been an artist, I haven't always worked within the 'art' industry, and while I do now, it is through working for myself, and not someone else that this has come about. I used to work as an employment consultant, and then I left to persue the art thing. Some people were mortified to find I chose (rather than consulting full time) to work in a warehouse in the music industry. They just could not imagine what the hell was wrong with me, leaving a well paid job that I was doing really well in to pack boxes! ha ha ha. I clearly knew something about myself they didn't get - and that's why I love your post! It's sooooo true, and you're soooo right! I've never been happier. Mind you, I just work for myself now, but that's only been the last four months. hugzzz, Kristina.

  2. Thanks Kristina :D Good on you for having the courage to step out and follow your heart. It's really a tough thing to do, especially with (like you say) the way we've been conditioned to think. Life is not a dress rehearsal so why NOT do something meaningful? I'm really happy too!
    Hugs right back, B xox

  3. hiya Bee - you speak to my heart. the last three years especially my job has been alot about who I am as I was blessed to have a job in the performing arts that I was very passionate about. But now that chapter of my life is over and I don't know what I will 'do' next - when I come home to tas - work wise - but i will still be me regardless, a passionate maker of things and explorer of the world. Some people are amazed that I have resigned and am coming back to tas without a job. I'm looking forward to the adventure. Will be great to catch up for a cup of tea with you too. best j xo

  4. Sparrows are my favourite too, we call them 'deets' in our family. They are so full of character, a really awesome little bird :)

    I'm glad you don't let others put you into a box, it's strange how that whole 'peer pressure' thing never really goes away. I think it just morphs into a 'keeping up with the Jones' mentality if you let it and bugger that for a way to live your life!

  5. Excellent post. I agree completely.


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