Sunday, August 06, 2006
" Who Else Might I Have Been ..."
Well, THAT is quite a question, ain't it.
First off let me say that I am perfectly content with who I am.
I sometimes find myself wondering how my life might have been different had I made different CHOICES, but I really don't give it A LOT of energy . I have a great house, a wonderful partner and a supportive family. Beyond that, most things are irrelevant. I work as a letter carrier full time and an artist part time. I'd love to swap those around, but that isn't how things worked out for me.
The Post Office is a rigid place. It's never been a very good fit with my very " flexible " way of thinking. I have often wondered why I stay doing this job. I've been there over 16 years now. To some degree it defines me. But not how you'd think ...
I love the mail. Not the crap that passes for mail most days, but the letters, the packages, the postcards that inevitably still arrive. I love the feel of letters. I love how sometimes they smell of perfume or cigarettes. Mostly though, this job is about the people.
Not even so much the people I work WITH. It's the people I've come to know through delivering TO. I have made friends, very good friends, through this job. I've touched the lives of people I could never have known any other way if I didn't do this job. I've watched kids grow up. I've watched people lose pets and loved ones. I've talked with people through those losses. I've reached out to help those who just need a little human contact every day. I've learned to be more tolerant. More patient. A better listener. I've learned to be a better person.
If I hadn't made this choice I would not know Candace or Jeanne or Dorothy or Jim and Carolyn. I wouldn't have met Tom and Claire or Todd or Sandra or Kari. I wouldn't have shared the difficult time Margaret had this year, or known Shauna's family or met Mini and Wendy and Ed. I wouldn't have known George. I wouldn't have had the pleasure of Mickey ( the best black lab in the world ) waiting for me every day for a visit, a round of fetch and a couple treats. I wouldn't know Gaye and Pinot and Babette and Susan. There's too many lives I've touched and who have touched mine, to list them all. There is Highland Center, where I've worked with special needs kids the past ten years. I would never have known it was a calling for me to share some of my life with them if I hadn't seen that very special group every day when I dropped off the mail.
Who I am and what I do DOES define me. But it isn't about how much ( or little ) money I make. It isn't about my attendance record or how quickly I complete my rounds. It's about being a touchstone of communication for people. It's about touching all those lives with a consistent and reliable presence. It's about so much more than just a job.
When I ponder who else I might have been, I can't help but think all that I would have to give up to be anyone but who I am.
Maybe I would have finished college, got a degree and cared about the size of my house and car, more than the size of my heart. I might have been more isolated had I chosen other work. I might never have realized my own potential for kindness. I might not have either the time or capacity for others that I have now ...I might not have the kind of relationship I have with Natalie and Blake. I might not be as close to my family.
I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I might have a fleeting thought of " who else I might have been " but I wouldn't trade who I AM for anything ...
Posted by Bonnie Rae at 11:58 AM