Learning. I am a sponge. I learn from books, and listening intently to perspectives from other individuals. I stare. I become fascinated with the nuances of why people say the things they do, and act the way they act. Often we do not realize how we are perceived, and whether people are nurtured and inspired by our presence, or if they are repelled and drained by us. At times the story we tell, and how we express ourselves greatly dictate other’s perceptions of us.
Each of us have such a unique past and specific experiences that mold us into who we are and how we embark on our day. We constantly absorb the moments, attitudes, mood, and energy of those around us. As we consume those around us, we decide moment by moment how we are going to respond and react, or maybe do nothing at all. Some of us have a harder time letting go of any bad energy that exudes from those around us. Others make it their mission to get rid of any toxic energy that comes into their experience.
As a sponge, it can sometimes be hard to react quickly, because the absorption process happens so quickly. In that way, we have to protect ourselves from others, and sometimes ourselves. For those of us who are sponges, we have to be aware and take care of ourselves. Keeping tabs on the energy around you, and what drains you can be a step in determining if you are breathing in toxic energy. Learning how to be less absorbent in those moments is a protection in sanity, and what you want to breathe into your world.
Soak it all up, just watch what you let touch you.
I am a people person. I am fascinated by other individuals. What makes them tick. What inspires them. What makes them do the things they do (whether good or bad). Really each of us have our own modus operandi — and that is what I care about understanding. I want to know what fuels people to live their lives. What creates a fire in a person, what calls forth their badass self.
Due to the fact that people amaze me, I have also been called out for staring. Yes, I stare. I want to learn everything I can about someone. From what they wear to their accent, to how they treat others, to how they get the job done, to how they relax. It all matters to me. Ever last bit. I learn a lot from others. Sometimes it is poise, other times leadership, sometimes it is patience, or passion, or humor, but I believe that everyone is on this earth to teach us something. Often we do not even know what it is they are here to teach us, but we know that they are meant to be in our life for a reason.
What if we tried to suck the learnings from every individual we encounter each and everyday? We could learn a lot. Not just what we want to be and do, but what we do not want to be and do. I learned a lot from my parents and how I did not want to live my life. Maybe that has made me more cautious and maybe that has meant that I have often taken the safe route, but what I experienced with them meant that I had a life with constant unknowns (food, electricity, etc). All I wanted was to know that I would have the basic essentials every day. If I have that now, then generally speaking I am good to go.
Can you tell that about people? Can you tell what they need? Is it words of affirmation? Patience for their life situation? Humor to get them through the day? Whatever it may be, we each need something different. We each are amazing, and need each other to be our best selves. How are you helping someone else be amazing today?
I take two kinds of photos — people and odd objects. You know when you see that toothpick sticking out of the parking meter, or a bike is leaning oddly on its front tire and somehow holding up the weight of itself? Whatever the oddity, I find beauty in the common objects in life found in rare or strange places. At times, we find that a common object strikes a deep chord within us. It brings back memories that are strong and often vivid. Our own talisman of sorts.
Over the weekend we were at a local holiday artisan market that was nested within a new/used hardware store. I saw a few holiday trinkets that started a flowing thought process of the talismans in my life. I saw a bottle opener in the shape of pliers, vintage hammers, and a few construction-esque items that brought back memories of my dad’s plethora of tools meant to help him build, fix, and maintain the homes of many in my hometown. Beside the random fart greeting card, or joke about going bald, tools are often a talisman reminder of my dad. So are the moments when I wished I had watched him fix a pipe, build a deck, or the endless other projects I could have gained valuable and tangible knowledge to bring to my home today.
My other talismans? Pepsi and Daisies. Random, I know, but each remind me of my mom and grandma. My grandma’s daily drink was a Pepsi, and while I do not drink soda, from what I can remember my last 2-liter drinking of Pepsi was with her. It would probably taste nasty to me, like a syrup IV, but it will forever be my reminder of good ‘ole Granny Smith. I can also rarely pass by a daisy and not think of my mom. Sometimes to the point of having tears in my eyes. While I have not embraced, spoken to, or seen her for over twenty years, a daisy can bring back the strongest of memories. They are resilient, last forever, and are the simplest of flowers. While my mom did not last as long as she should have, she was one resilient and simple lady. Call my sappy, but the daisy is a quick reminder of her and her last words to me: “Be strong.”
We could go through much of our life and not give a damn about anyone else. What a bore that would be, right? I was a sociology major in college, which for some of you that might mean a chuckle and a smirk and a comment of the sorts of: “Where did that get you?” Well I am not a doctor, or an architect, or an engineer. All professions that probably need a highly skilled sort of curriculum in school to ensure that we are not given the wrong drugs, our homes and buildings are do not collapse, and, well, engineers — they solve all sorts of problems.
I am here to tell you that I am an engineer of people. As a sociology major, I studied people. While many might think: “how are you applying your degree in your career?” I want to say back to them, “Every damn day.” I work with people all day long. Most of my days are filled with meetings, which are filled with people. Not everyone has the desire or patience to deal with people all day. Maybe I should make a button that says: “I was a sociology major, and I give a damn about people.” I would get lots of laughs, or perplexed looks, maybe a few strange questions.
Regardless of what I studied, or what others think about how that prepared me for the real world. I live my life caring about people, their todays and their tomorrows. Their feelings matter, what they are going through, what challenges them, if they take a stand in life. I care about it all. At the end of the day, we all work for different types of companies, businesses, non-profit, for profit. Whether we make art, sell a product, are in sales, provide customer support we all somehow have to deal with people. The business or company could fade away, the product could bomb, and yet we would still have people. So why not treat them right, take care of them, and help them to be better.