I bumped into someone today, someone who’d known me many, many years ago (we’re talking no interaction any time in the last 18 years or so). I say bumped into, we’ve both been in the same coffee shop at the same time every Friday since I moved home but today for some reason she decided was the day to speak to me, to say that she’d only just worked out who I was.
Now this could be true, of course it could. But I don’t believe it for a minute. For starters I’ve changed so little throughout my late teens and adult life that if you knew me as a teenager you know me now. Then of course there’s been the regular coffee shop visits – I’ve been with my mom every week, and for the first few weeks with my dad and my uncle too (until they both got better offers for how to spend their Fridays). So the idea it’s taken her 12 times seeing me to work out who I am just seems entirely implausible.
All of that aside, the conversation was uncomfortable, particularly trying to answer the question about what I’m doing with my life. Generally I’m pretty okay with the fact that I’ve been home for a few months and still haven’t found my next job. Obviously I would love to have found work by now, I didn’t expect it to take this long, but at the same time I know that going about this process the right way to find the right role for me is the most important thing and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I wasn’t going to start explaining that to someone who is effectively a complete stranger to me though.
I’ve spent most of the afternoon working on another job application, feeling more than a little bad about the morning’s conversation. To start with I felt bad that I didn’t have a good answer, that I didn’t have some impressive answer of what wonderful thing I was doing with my life. This changed though to feeling bad about even caring. What does it matter to anyone other than me? And why does how impressive it is even begin to matter?
I realise that it doesn’t matter. At all. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have a coherent answer to the question at the moment (even if I’m thinking maybe I’ll give a little thought to thinking of a basic one for any future random conversations, just to avoid this). And it certainly doesn’t matter what the answer is now, or in the future. I’ve known for a long time that being happy and healthy is the most important thing, and that’s the way I’ve been trying to live my life for years now. None of the rest of it is important, and it absolutely doesn’t matter.
I just need to remember this now. Always.