Last week I was in a continuing education class for my day job in insurance. The class held perhaps 25 individuals from the area. Before the class began, the instructor asked that we introduce ourselves, state how long we’d been in the industry, the company we currently worked for, and what our hobbies were.
More than one person had no hobby. They either worked too much or lost themselves in the wants and needs of their family enough that they didn’t know what they liked as an individual.
One woman even said, “Hobby? I’ve forgotten what that is.”
I don’t know how this problem presents itself in other cultures, but as Americans we pride ourselves on being recognized as a culture of individualism and dreams. Yet in the real world this is so often frowned upon.
– We are a country full of people who don’t take their allotted vacation time at work, simply because the companies we work for will hold it against us. At best our employers think we are not being a committed team player all because we’ve enjoyed what was due us.
– We are a country who doesn’t believe in giving time to new mothers to learn how to take care of their babies and, just as importantly, take care of themselves.
– We are a country that celebrates the hopefuls on American Idol or America’s Got Talent, but tell the waiter at the restaurant down the street who is trying to make it big to ‘grow up and get a real job’.
I can’t tell you how many people I have seen who are supportive of new writers turn around and snub poets, as though there is something lesser about them, even though both are chasing the same profession.
I can’t tell you how many people, many including high school classmates and their parents, who have given me a look full of disappointment when they found out I never received a bachelor’s degree. The fact that I earned five associate’s degrees with honors in all in the same amount of time and studied the things I really wanted to learn didn’t seem to matter.
When you break the mold, our country doesn’t know what to do with you. If you break the mold, you had better break it loud and proud and be immensely successful while doing it or we have no use for you.
What kind of a message is that?
Abney Park wrote a beautiful song entitled “Letters Between a Little Boy and Himself as an Adult”. In the world of this song, by the grace of a new invention called the chronofax, one can write letters through time. In this story, a little boy decides to write to himself when he’s older, laying down the rules, and reminding himself “be careful not to turn into what I’d hate.”
In fact, I’ll let Captain Robert explain it to you himself in the video below. If you just want to hear the song, begin the video at 2:25.
Please take a listen. It is more than worth it.