Once upon a time, friendly chaps and gals meeting along the lane greeted each other with those friendly little words. “How do you do?” one would say as they smiled and tipped a hat.
Oh, how things have changed.
In today’s fast-paced, profit-driven world, what is it folks ask upon meeting each other or when making small talk? I’ll tell ya because I’ve been listening for some time now. It goes like this…”So, what do YOU do?”
Obviously, this question puts the most value to what one does for a living.
I have such a problem with that. I just do. At its very core, the question really is, “How do you spend your day making a profit?”
Worse yet, I’ve personally been asked these versions, “So, what DO you do all day?”, and “How are you contributing to society?”
As if all day and its profits and contributions to society are where my value lies. Probably, I’m hyper-sensitive after having been a stay-at-home mom for decades. Though mostly over my defensiveness, recently it did get my hackles up.
I’m pretty sure that the years I invested without receiving a monetary paycheck had some value when I observe these beyond amazing grown children of mine into whom I’ve poured all that I have. And when I see my husband smile and know that I gave all I have to supporting him, I see my investments have prospered.
Gosh, I sure hope society isn’t right and I’ve got this all wrong, because I haven’t earned a regular paycheck in forever, and I haven’t put on work pants since high school. I spend money someone else made in order to fulfill my responsibilities; I bring in no profit. Part of that is the stage of life in which I find myself, and part of it is the choice my family made years ago for me to stay at home.
Oh, heck no, I’m not getting into the *which kind of mommy is best* debate. Not touching that sucker with a fifty foot pole! I’m just examining the idea that how one chooses to spend their day, and how that is interpreted by others determines, somehow, their societal worth.
But who sets the value scale? Who determines what it is that matters? Is it possible to produce things of value if they are not tied to a paycheck? Is it my title and position that makes me important?
You’ve heard it said that comparison is the thief of joy. When I see what you have, or you see what I have, maybe one of ours seems a little less. Shiny things, name brand things, the bigger the better, especially if its covered in brick or chrome. These things seem to matter. I will say there is relief in now living in a place where no one is really paying attention to who has what, who drives what, who wears what, and who lives in what. Can you just imagine if we all took that pressure off of each other?
So, what do I do all day?
I hope that wherever I find myself, wherever you find yourself, we’re busy bringing a bit of joy to whomever we come into contact with. That we shed a bit of sunshine and hope into the life of someone who needs it. That we hug a neck and speak words of encouragement and truth. That we fill a gap where there was something missing. No matter what task gets accomplished, be it big or small, corporate-ish or finger paint-ish, that it mattered to someone and dug up a smile.
Make it matter, friends. This day can matter. And you will matter as long as you keep that in mind.
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