The other day I was sitting in one of those coffee shops attached to a bookshop, writing in my journal and enjoying a cup of tea purchased at a rival coffee shop.
I know you're not supposed to eavesdrop and it's really rude and what have you, but I'm also the sort of person who would bring a rival coffee chain's cup into another coffee shop, so what do you expect? That and I find it fascinating to listen to what other people talk about because a) it makes me think and b) it helps me work on building compassion as it reminds me how interconnected we all are.
The two people I was listening to appeared, from their conversation, to be former school mates catching up. One was a gangly looking geeky boy with a bit of scruffy facial hair and large black framed glasses. The other was one of those women who probably always looked like they were in their early thirties even if they're not in their early thirties even now - not because she looked old but because she looked eminently sensible. She was a teacher of five year olds, which only reinforced the look she had. Elementary school teachers, cops and accountants - they all seem to have a look which makes their careers instantly identifiable. Or maybe that's just me.
But I digress.
They had a varied conversation and I listened to some bits and not to other bits (It was a packed space and we were sitting right next to each other so it was actually quite difficult for me to tune them out.) but there was one bit in particular that stuck out. It was after I'd established that Eminently Sensible Woman was working as a teacher in her first teaching job and Geeky Boy was still a student, having chosen medical studies.
Eminently Sensible Woman: "When you're in school you don't get to have a life."
Geeky Boy: "Well, even if I had time, I wouldn't have money for a life."
Eminently Sensible Woman: "You'll get a life when you're done."
Geeky Boy: "Probably not, actually."
Eminently Sensible Woman: "Oh yeah, I guess it's a lot of work."
Geeky Boy: "It is. Even now, like, my shifts are crazy."
Eminently Sensible Woman: "But you enjoy it right? It's better than when you were studying engineering?"
Geeky Boy: "Oh yeah, I love it. It's amazing. Every day is just, so amazing."
I've blogged about this before because it's one of those observations I've made that bemuses me and I like to challenge people to think differently whenever I can. People, for some reason, equate school and work as being separate from life. As if Life and Work and School are individual headings under which our experiences fall.
Life is the heading. And Geeky Boy does have a life. His life involves being a student, studying something he loves, and ultimately becoming a medical professional in some capacity. In fact, it sounds like Geeky Boy has a great life and I wanted to lean across and tell him so - but I didn't. One must draw the line somewhere on social transgressions.
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