In an era when this is an accurate takedown of the youngest generation of “adults”…
…it helps to remember what your currency of true joy, value, and pleasure is. Personally, my wealth of happiness comes from simple moments of sharing a positive connection with another person. Cooperation. Acting out of mutual benefit with a total, random stranger — just by virtue of you both being good, compassionate humans. Laughter. Giving assistance, because they are in need & you are able. No incentives, no rewards, no competitions — just humanity smiling at itself.
Western society is destination-driven. A pressure to “get” where you’re “going” — even if you don’t yet know where that is.
This can be confusing, and terrifying.
In part because if I’m so focused on the arrival, I may not get to appreciate all the nuances inherent to the process of traveling, journeying, commuting, wandering, foraging, and any other means of moving about the world as a willing & observant participant.
I don’t know that I’ve heard a great number of peers ever clamoring to be career garbage collectors. The life of a sanitation worker is not so glamorous, nor highly sought-after.
But yet the service is needed, and people make a living filling the role.
Can those sort of people be happy?
Of course they can. Maybe they even know a deeper happiness than the rest of us. Aimlessly browsing the interwebs from deep in the couch yesterday, I came across this touching animated interview with two old pals who had worked for the city all their lives. And it seemed so obvious to them: making the most of life means sharing the little moments with others, because we’re all in this together; why does everything need to be a big damn hurry?
Sanitation workers Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves worked together for nearly ten years on the same garbage route in Manhattan’s West Village and became fixtures in the community. After 31 years on the job, Angelo retired. At StoryCorps, he talked with Eddie about the unexpected lessons he learned along the way and what he still misses about the job.
If you can internalize the richness of insights discovered along the journey…suddenly, you may find that the destination is not so terribly important.