I like having things to do, places to go, people to see. Now all three of those don’t have to occur in order for me to have a good day but having one of them scheduled works. When time stretches eternally in front of me with nothing particular to drive me, things start to go sideways. I start to crave order and appointments and things to accomplish besides cleaning the house and buying groceries. Worthwhile tasks that are necessary for my family’s health and well-being but not a good enough reason to get out of bed. I need to get out of bed for more than just a pee.
I’ve made looking for a job a full-time job. Now by full-time I mean I put a significant amount of time every day in to job searching, building connections, sending emails, updating web profiles, keeping up my social media content, etc. Being my own boss, I also get to take lunch when I want for how long I want, take my dog for long walks, and go on photography expeditions to gather new material and stimulate my creativity. One morning, coming back from such a jaunt that both got the dog walked and provided some excellent photos, I saw a man leaving his driveway with purpose in mind. He might have visited the loo when he got up. That’s between him and his Maker. But what I do know is he had places to go and things to accomplish bladder be damned.
This gentleman was older than most and younger than some. He lives in my neighbourhood though I will confess I wouldn’t recognize him again if I saw him. He was wearing the uniform of a bicycle devotee though none of it neon, skin-tight or advertising for some cycle maker. He had his pant protector around his ankle, trusty helmet secured atop what might have been a snow-capped cranium and his bike was decked out for business. This gentleman had a basket on the front that could carry a small dog and panniers on the back that would make any gold miner’s donkey jealous. They could hold groceries, art supplies, goodies picked up on recycling day or the requisite old man’s chess set for a jaunt to the park. Any dream could be hiding in there.
My thought as I saw this gentleman was that he’s probably spent the last 40 years or more getting up each Monday to Friday with a place to go. He didn’t have to think about how he was going to fill his days: he knew. He had purpose. He had direction. Gentlemen of his generation were not given to flitting from job to job or changing careers mid-life. They got what they thought was a good paying job to support their families and stuck to it regardless of what dreams their basket might hold. Now for all I know, this gentleman could have spent his days putting the cap on toothpaste tubes, counting beans for some corporate giant or working towards world peace and an end to cancer. But he once had purpose that propelled him out of bed, besides a full bladder, and he obviously decided to continue with his routine.
For whatever reason, the image of this gentleman and the start of his journey for the day has stuck with me. Even after all his time on the planet, which no longer includes going to the factory or office or lab, he has decided to keep himself active and alive with purpose. I found this inspiring. In fact it injected my job search with renewed vigour and the recognition that this search is purposeful. It is worth getting out of bed each morning to job hunt and connect with people that will help me succeed. It is worth remembering that it will pay off and I’ll soon have a really good reason to get out of bed in the morning other than to pee. I’ve only got 20 or so more years of work ahead of me, but I’m glad to know that my adventures won’t be over. I’m sure my basket has one or two more dreams to be fulfilled.