At least three days a week, I go swim. I am such a ‘regular’ that the lifeguards know me by name and my favorite first swim lane. Nearly all these lifeguards are in their early to mid-20’s and going to school. The lifeguard gig is for them to make some extra pocket money. One lifeguard told me that she has known since she was a tiny tyke that she was going to be a nurse. Her eyes light up when she talks about learning about the human body. She clamored, “I can’t wait to be a nurse!” I said to her, “Good for you, because I never knew what I wanted to do with my life!”
Another lifeguard shared with me that he was going back to school to be a Paramedic after being in film school for four years, only to learn that there was no way in heck he was going to be able to make a living with film. I got the sense that he was not the biggest fan of academics and said to him, “Some people have their *hit together. Others have their *hit splattered all over the place. But, it’s OK. You learn as you go. Everything always has a way of falling into place, even when it feels like everything and you are just falling apart.”
Some people know what they want to do what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Plan everything out perfectly. But as we all know—life happens and keeps on happening when you are making plans. There are many interruptions and detours that happen that can bulldoze those perfectly prepared plans right down. Some seem to get bulldozed more than others. Others appear to have the most manicured of lawns and lives.
I was never one of these people. I was also NEVER one who wanted to ‘climb up the ladder.’ I never wanted the pressure and stress. I never wanted the money that I have found more often than not brings out the very worst in people. I never wanted an advanced degree. At a career panel that I attended recently, about six of the speakers shared how they knew what they wanted to do with their lives and had basked in one promotion after another with more schooling and more money. One sole speaker shared that he had followed the same upward climb just like everyone else, but, unlike everyone else, the upward climb sent him into a downward spiral.
He confessed, “I was not happy. The money, the pressure, the stress…this wasn’t me. I climbed up the ladder because that’s what everyone else does, and that’s what you are expected to do in life. I ended up speaking with my supervisor and returning to my previous role. I realized how important it was to be honest and humble and show humility to yourself and to others and when you are not like everyone else. What may one or all may not work for you—and you do not always and will not always know and that’s okay as long as you are humble and have humility to then find out the answers that work for you.”
I think about these 20-year-old lifeguards that I’ve become friendly with who are just starting. I remember how I was when I was there age. I think about this young man on the career panel whose story really spoke to me. I look at the now and my supposed ‘career path.’ I’ve come to know that most of the time, I did not know. I do not know. I just learn as I go. I am just “HUM”-ing as best as I can—staying true to me with HUM-ility and HUM-bleness in a world where seeming to know everything and everyone is the way to go. It appears to be much easier to show off our public successes than our private struggles in this day in age.
In life, it is very important to hold on to ‘HUMS'= Humility and Humble. It takes great strength to be humble and show humility. To admit and be honest about your weaknesses and truths to ourselves and to the world and particularly those that we love the most takes a certain kind of character. Are you about showing your successes rather than your struggles? Have you always known what you want to do with your life? How were your perfectly plotted plans in life ever bulldozed? Do you know any know-it-alls? Are you HUM-ing?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,