This morning while sipping my coffee I was reading the most recent newsletter from one of my mentors, Barbara Winter, and I stumbled onto this quote from Rumi. "Be with those who help your being." As with all good quotes it started my wheels spinning.
Being an avid reader I am usually knee deep in a least two or three books at a time and currently I am in the middle of The Element by Ken Robinson. It's quite an interesting read about people who find their passion and a way to make a living doing what they love . One of the key elements (if you will excuse the repetition) of finding and living your Element is finding what Mr. Robinson calls "your tribe." This is not the first time that I have come across this advise. Many other authors have acknowledged the importance of surrounding yourself with like minded people. But I like the word tribe the best. I am still in search of my tribe at least what I will call my inner tribe, a circle of friends with similar self-employment goals. Maybe I have already met them and just have not claimed them as my friends, my tribe. I suppose that your "tribe" is not a static thing anyway and changes throughout your life-time. Which brings me to waitressing.
Back when I got laid-off from my "real job" and decided to try to make a living without one. I think I might have been discouraged with myself if I had seen this far into the future and realized that I would still be working as a part-time waitress. But to quote another infamous deep thinker, "It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." Confucius. And to my credit, I guess, I have not stopped. I am in fact working less hours as a waitress this year than I did last year and all the bills are still getting paid. This is at least some progress.
But the point here is my tribe. (aka: people to be with who help my being)
Most of the people I work with are half (or even less than half) my age and I am not aware of any of them having the goal of being self-employed. In short we don't seem to have a lot in common. But I think they are more my tribe than anyone I ever met in the corporate world. True most of them might be heading that way in the next couple of years but right now their eyes are focused on the big bright and wonderful future. A future that they believe they are steering toward. They are twenty-something. They are supposed to have big dreams for their future. They do not want to wait tables their whole lives. Some of them are living on their own for the first time figuring out what they like and don't like. Will they go to college? What do they want to study? Who will they become? I try not to ask them too many probing questions. The questions that everyone asks you when you are that age. It seems like so much pressure. You graduate from high-school and everyone starts asking you "what you are planning to do with your life?" But as wrong as it seems to put that kind of pressure on a young adult, the sadder and more sobering truth is that somewhere between 25 and 30 people stop asking.
I am 46 years old well past high school and college graduation. No one asks me what I want to do with the rest of my life but I believe that it is the most important thing to ask ones-self. The driving question to fuel our lives. No matter what our age, we all wake up each morning with the opportunity to grow to learn to become more than we were yesterday. To look toward the future with hope, expectations and a plan.
So for now I will soak up the youthful energy at my waitressing job and reminded myself that the future is out there for all of us to create. Yep, even for those of us who are over 40!!!