I don’t need to know what you do for a living. What I want to know is what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longings.
I don’t need to know how old you are. What I want to know is if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
I don’t need to know where or with whom you have studied. What I want to know is what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. —The Invitation
Many people define themselves by their jobs. When we meet someone new we often ask, “So what do you do?” As if being an accountant or a lawyer or an Indian chief tells us much of anything about the person’s core. Instead of “what do you do?”, shouldn’t we be asking “what do you care about?” I once stood behind a plumber who was bent over my toilet bowl in the stereotypic plumber’s repose. It was hard not to guffaw. We started talking about plumbing, but ended up talking about how he was a linguistics graduate from Georgetown University who had spent four years as a translator at the American Embassy in Paris. He explained that he liked Paris, but that he liked plumbing better. He fought in Viet Nam, but presently taught English to Vietnamese refugees. Now that’s the good stuff!
I can say that I was once a government administrator, worked for the Chamber of Commerce, ran my own business, helped open a health club, did management consulting, was a tenured professor and a college administrator. But to reveal more you have to peel the onion a bit further. Track coach, sailor, mountain climber, writer gets closer to the core. Mentor, true Aquarian, environmentalist, poet gets closer still. Someday, if we should meet, I’d like to tell you about being a consummate romantic, an opinionated curmudgeon, how music fills my soul, and why I yearn to live with a pack of wolves.
I don’t need to know where you live or how much money you have. What I want to know is if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments. —The Invitation