“The Way I See It” #233
“I used to think that going to the jungle made my life an adventure. However, after years of unusual work in exotic places, I realize that it is not how far off I go or how deep into the forest I walk that gives life meaning. I see that living life fully is what makes life – anyone’s life, no matter where they do or do not go – an adventure.”
- Maria Fademian
- Geographer, Ethnobotanist, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer
I read Maria’s two cents on the back of a Venti coffee black, free and courtesy of John, Paul, and Simon, my local Starbucks’ employees who also just so happen to be some of my closest friends. I love freebies, especially when some other people are struggling to purchase their favorite new indulgence, from a Soy Skinny Extra-Dirty Caramel Macchiato to a Banana Chocolate Vivanno, for less than four bucks a pop with coups. I don’t feel too bad, though, about it all. I mean I DO tip the Three Wise Men whatever change I have in my pocket for their generosity. But somehow I don’t know if John, Paul or Simon is seeing much of it ever, mainly because the slave-driving wench manages the local branch. I have never met her, although I do recall hearing “her” name once or twice. We’ll call her Beelzebub. For instance, two employees recently left and the vacancy in staffing will not be filled with either new employees or increased hours for the remaining baristas. Some are not scheduled enough hours anymore even to utilize the insurance package by which they used to be insured. The workers are all experienced (maybe not necessarily capable for one or two, but experienced nonetheless) but yet couldn’t BUY a raise for their hourly earnings. They have possibly the fewest average floor hours per day in the area but are the top selling branch all the while. Hands down, these guys kick ass. And hands down, they deserve better treatment and leadership from the higher ups. Did I mention that the Three Wise Men will be attending law school in the fall? You’d think that the company would want to piss them off least of all because they just might come back and sue the pants off this joint. Maybe even one large general suit against all major coffee corporations. I am not sure how or with what claim but there is always something. If at the very least for too small a “Caution: Hot” disclaimer on the cups. Ya know, like that old geyser did Mickey D’s a few years back. Caribou Coffee, you better get your act straight too or these boys might just be paying you and all your granola-type customers a visit here in about three and a half years. Hold on a second, I have hardly touched my free coffee yet. Did I mention yet that it was free? K. I’m back. Where was I going? I dunno. Where ever I want! That’s where I am going with this! Now hold your horses. I’m getting there, where ever that is.
I originally was going to try and relate my personal experiences in life with Maria’s, so that’s what I’m going to do. Like her, I also thought that a full life meant doing what few others do, going where only a few dare go but most only dream, talk or write about. I did do all that. I rode on the top of Land Cruisers through the African bush; I saw people living in straw huts; I met the face of AIDS in person; I held her hand; I even told her a joke and got her to laugh as she lay on her mat on the dusty earth. I heard a lion roar two feet from my face. I met a real witch-doctor, in person, and learned they do exist outside of National Geographic and Scooby-Doo. I even crept into President Mugabe’s backyard without him knowing. Trust me, though I’m only twenty, I’ve seen some things you won’t see. I’ve done things you won’t do. And as sure as this coffee I’m drinking now was free, I’ve learned some lessons I hope you will never have to learn. And you know what? No, I know you don’t know yet. I haven’t told you yet. It was rhetorical, Buddy. I haven’t made my life any fuller by any of this. I’m not sad or emotional about it so don’t go having a pity party, but I have learned what does make life full. So let me tell you this.
The secret to a fuller life is not doing outrageous activities. The secret is finding out who you want there by your side doing them right along with you. Who is the one person you would want to sit next to you riding on top of a safari rack as you bounce your way through the grasslands or ford a flooded stream as some impalas bound alongside? Find her. Keep her. If you want a fuller life, find out who are the people that can bring the fondest and dearest memories to mind if you were a world away from everyone you know. Only then do you really grasp who truly matters in your life. Spend time with those old friends. Facebook that fool from years ago if you need. Find out what issues really tick you off, I mean the things that you just can’t STAND anymore, what you will still lose sleep about even if you weren’t in your daily routines but on vacation on some island in Fiji. What is it? Then, do something about the situation to make it the way your gut tells you it should be! I don’t a baboon’s bare backside how old you are, how poor you are, how fat you are, how dumb you are, how depressed you are. Really, I don’t! Most likely you’ll be that way the rest of your life because you’re reading this instead of changing the status quo. I am genuinely furious right now! Give me a sec to chill out. Go get a cup of coffee and then come back before you finish this. Seriously, go ahead. That’s what I am going to do.
Have you ever read “A Dream Deferred”? It’s a short piece. Open another browser tab and Google it, read it, sip your coffee, ponder it, think slow, let your mind mull it over a bit ( I know, it’s going to make your head hurt, but that’s what Tylenol ES is for), and then come back to this. Do you understand what it’s telling you? It’s telling you to move, to act, to VERB. You’re a stagnant puddle, with mosquitoes hatching in the bottom and all that stuff; you’re a festering sore if you don’t go out and just do, just be, just live. Think, believe, write, or even sue! Just do. But don’t believe for a second that all that will help you find a fuller life, because it won’t. What it it WILL do is help you understand what you’re missing, who you’re missing, and things that really will fill up your life I can tell you this much as a teaser trailer of sorts for what you will probably find:
The emptiness some feel, the love some may not be receiving, and the confusion about what life means; all these cannot be answered here on Earth. You’re going to have to as the Big Guy about all that. And you’re going to have to be willing to listen.
“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Mental Side Note: I just saw in the paper that Clinton (Hilary, that is) has been Iran jive for their missile activity. Good for her, but is that not exactly the approach that the Dems were telling the GOP would not work anymore just a handful of weeks ago? And weren’t the Dems getting on Bush for his spending? And now tell em how much has Congress okayed for Obama already? And how do mass tax cuts and breaks to the masses help the deficit? And only how many months has President Obama been in office? And how much sense does that make? I remain hung up on the fence about it all while the federal government just plain hangs itself period. Are the Jeffersonian Democrats still around? I want those boys back. Give me strict construction!!