I had two almost identical conversations recently: one in London and one in Chicago. In London, I was chatting with the driver on my way to Heathrow, which, as I mentioned before, took two and a half hours. It started with me replying to the question of whether I had visited London before; I started with “when my younger son turned twenty-five,” and then it took a different turn. As often happens, the driver was shocked to hear that I have an adult son, especially when I said that that’s my younger son, and it has been a while since he was twenty-five. Then I had to spell out how old I was, and after that, he was not interested in my prior visits to London. Instead, he asked me, “how am I doing that,” why I look so much younger, and whether I exercise, and so on :), which was rather funny.
I told him that I loved want I am doing. I keep telling the same thing to people, especially since I started my current job. Not only do I love my line of work in general, but at this job, I love what and how I am doing, and I love the people I work with. It brings me joy to see that my expertise and skills are needed, and honestly, I even feel physically better recently. I am very busy at work, and some days are crazy, but this is a different kind of busyness, not exhausting. I am busy doing my job, and I am happy I can do it well.
I shared all of the above with my driver. He said: but it is not always possible. Then he started to talk about his life, how he had to quit attending college at some point to provide for his family, and how his wife graduated and now works in the medical field. He mentioned that he is returning to college, and we talked about what he wants to do next.
At the end of our trip (he went above and beyond getting me to the airport on time in the midst of the transportation strike), he thanked me for the talk and said that I gave him directions in life (and yes, we also talked about parenting, exercise and (un)healthy eating habits :)).
The second conversation happened in the BMO Harris local branch, where I stopped to deposit a check. This time, I do not even remember what started the conversation (the bank branch was empty, so the specialists were happy to converse with somebody). I do not remember how it jumped from me being a perfect customer to “what do I do,” and I do not even recall whether my age came up, but in five minutes, it was the same “tell me your secret,” and “how I can become like you.” And I told him the same thing I told the driver in London, and his reaction was very similar (“I am writing it right here, on my hand, and I am not going to do anything with this hand, and I won’t wash it, and I will always remember it”)
It was so funny and sweet that I smiled all the way while I was walking back to the office.
I thought again about how fortunate I am that I have a job I love and how unhappy I was each time it was not the case. And although I can believe that people may be happy and content without loving their job… I sort of don’t believe it 🙂