My son recently celebrated his third birthday. You should have seen the excitement on his face. Pure joy. 

For a lot of us we were probably fortunate to have similar experiences. Then that excitement slowly diminishes for some people. How many people do you know that dislike people making a big deal about their birthday? I know quite a few.

I ride the T, which is what people in Pittsburgh call the trolley, into work every day. As I stand on the side of the T writing, I’m amazed by all the unhappy faces heading to and from work.  There are people with all sorts of incomes. I’m sure many of them are far better off than I but they all look so sad.

How many people are doing what they really want to do?

What would you do if you didn’t need the money? I’m sure most people wouldn’t be catching the 7am T.

How did so many people get into the predicament of working jobs they hate with little growth opportunities and barely affording their lifestyles? Is it laziness? Is everyone on this train doing something wrong? 

Or are most people missing the point? Is life all about our jobs and incomes? That wasn’t always the case but it’s become the way we value ourselves in today’s society. Think about when you go to a party. What are some of the first questions you ask, or are asked by, a stranger?

  • Their name
  • Maybe where they’re from or where they live
  • Their occupation

Whenever you meet someone one of the first things out of their mouth when you ask them about themselves is their occupation. 

  • Hi, I’m Dan. I’m a lawyer at ABC associates.
  • Hello, my name is Jane and I’m a financial analyst at XYZ Corp.

There are a number of times when I introduce myself that the person automatically gives me their occupation with their name before I even ask. Nothing about their family, interests, or hobbies. It’s all about your name, career, where you live, and the weather.

Aren’t we more than the sum of our careers. That’s awesome if you love your job. That’s the goal. Most people need to quit lowing to themselves and figure what they need to be happy. I’m not saying to go follow your passion because we all need to make money to pay the bills.

Figure out what you need to do to feel satisfied. Find someone you love, spend time with friends, get interested in something, pick up a hobby, go for a run, or get involved in a charity or nonprofit. Just go have an experience.

Life’s too short to live your live in such a narrow focus as your career. Get outside, meet people, and experience life because before you know it, it will be gone.

Photo by me