Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Words, Part II

Last week I had a great and unexpected conversation. I was having lunch with a semi-wig from the company, someone I don't know very well. First I asked him about his life and how he got to where he is, and he told me that he basically had a blessed life. And I thought, hey, me too! I've felt that way for a very long time. I was born into a family that escaped a war-torn country, and grew up with what Roberto Benigni memorably called the gift of poverty. And because of the love and support of my family, we've all been able to get past that and are strong because of it. I've been given amazing opportunities, and the abilities to take advantage of them. I mean, things could be very different for me, or at least for a me-like character. And I got ridiculously excited about telling this person about it, because he was so excited about feeling the same way.

It was the first time I'd met anyone who had the same kind of charmed awe that I have. I mean, a lot of people feel fortunate and grateful. But there's this sort of wide-eyed feeling of specialness that I don't often see. It was an immediate connection that I didn't expect to make.

One thing he talked about that seems so obvious but felt revelatory at the time was responsibility for choices. I mean, I believe in being responsible, but he talked about being responsible for the good ones as well as the bad ones. And I was like, yes! I see! I had just never thought about it before. And he talked about choosing to be around people who lift you up. And I thought about the people in my life who lift me up, and who I lift up. It was really clarifying.

He said that everyone has a word that defines them -- THE word. If you told your friends this word, they'd all say, yes, that's about right. I'm not sure if that's true, maybe it's more like 2 or 3. At any rate, the second he said that I thought, hmm, am I more unrelenting or relentless?

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