This week I’ve had to make a bunch of trips to the Post Office. The same Post Office where I was dreading going because they are often mean there. I know it’s a bad stereotype but it has totally been my experience of this particular Post Office and others, too (ask me to tell you the story about my wedding stamps one day….akin to the soup nazi from Seinfeld. Not good. Not good at all.)
Anyway I was pleasantly surprised/ totally wrong. The lady who helped me last week and then again yesterday was TOTALLY AMAZING! Fun to chat with, helpful, and knew her stuff.
Lesson # 1. You never know what you’re going to get. EVER. So you might as well stop worrying about the future. I actually wasted time, albeit not a lot, worrying about the fact that I thought it was going to be a frustrating and difficult trip. Well it wasn’t so my bad on that one.
While I was there another woman came in to say hello to this new super friendly Postal worker (who apparently has been there for many years, change of heart?!!?!) This woman shared some really tough stuff going on in her life with the lady and in turn with me. We talked, we shared our thoughts and mostly our “oh man why is life so damn hard?!” thoughts.
Lesson #2. People want to be heard. All of us. We all have this longing for others to care about our hardships and to celebrate our celebratory moments. We want to share them. When something good happens, we don’t go quietly sit by ourselves we want to celebrate with those we trust and love. Same for when something bad happens we yearn for connections.
Just like that in the 30 minutes or so that I was there I had made two pretty meaningful connections and I felt like I had shared with these two women a little of me. I hope that my empathy made its way to their hearts and that they know that I learned a lot from them.
That brings us to lesson #3. We all have a lot to learn and a lot to teach. I think sometimes we get confused. We think the teachers are older, have more degrees, more experience, more whatever the hell we deem important. We think the students are younger, more optimistic, not as experienced, whatever we deem as “naive.” What if we’re wrong? Well I think we are wrong. We are all learners and we are all teachers. We don’t always get the plan books ahead of time, we don’t always study the right notes. We have to stay on our toes because we don’t even know the lessons ahead of time.
Sometimes in the same moment or the same conversation we are both the teacher and the learner, in fact, often we are. How cool is that? I think it’s both freeing and eye-opening. It reminds me that while I don’t need to take myself too seriously I also cannot afford to underestimate myself either, and neither can you. Because you never know when lessons are being learned by you or from you. So stay awake and pay attention. That’s what I try to do. I forget a lot but it’s moments when I’m waiting in line like the other day that I’m forced to remember.
Happy Thursday friends. Hope you’re learning and teaching out there.