Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sharks and Sheep

Ever since college where we learned fundamental life skills like living away from home, choosing a non-Liberal Arts major, and how to shotgun a beer, I'd resigned myself to the notion that the English major's lot in life was to see the nuance and beauty in an otherwise mechanical, left-brained world, and not perhaps drive economic trends, truly understand what a hedge fund is, or say things like: "Divide my assets between my 401k and my Roth IRA," or "We don't need to find a different ATM. My balance is high enough to cover the foreign ATM fee."

And I was okay with that. Truly fine with the notion that what I lacked in capital, I made up for in my ability to shotgun a beer. Certain that society needed both sharks and sheep. Career-driven capitalist every bit as much as hippy humanitarians. The "Type-A" predators with their smart, aggressive life and career decisions, and those of us content to bumble through job and relationship choices with all the calculating ruthlessness of a nurse shark



But then the universe, who'd always been up for shotgunning a beer with me, handed this sheep a series of personal, professional, and medical misfortune.   

Anyone who's experienced any type of adversity wants to feel there's a deeper meaning behind it all. Like a Super Mario Brothers game where of course it's hard to get through the Mushroom Kingdom but you can take pride in your collection of coins, Fire Flowers, and ultimately saving Princess Toadstool.    

But sometimes it seems like the empathy, altruism, and social awareness I've accumulated from my hardships have the real world worth of Fire Flowers. And, at times, that can be difficult to reconcile. Like a t-shirt that reads, "I've Been To Hell And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt".

But unlike sharks, that's when sheep [who are very deep thinkers, no citation] remember that there's significance in both our failures and our triumphs. How are we certain? There has to be.  

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning" ~C.S. Lewis
    

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