One of my favorite compliments is, “That’s a great question,” especially from brilliant people who get interviewed often.
I have a list of general questions I start with in most interviews, but often just let my curiosity lead me.
This opinion piece, The Essential Skills for Being Human, added so many more to my list, as I read it at my kitchen table over a few lunches this week.
Life feels incredibly dehumanizing, from the wheel-o’-people I swipe and am swiped upon in dating apps to the most devastating moment of someone’s life I consume on pixels halfway around the world.
Aren’t you starved for those small moments when you feel the portal between your internal universe and another’s open up?
I get so disappointed in myself when I’m the cause of the distance. Things get uncomfortable or deep, and I pick up my phone and scroll out. Not one-to-one, but in a group, when I can get away with it, I de-humanize myself so as to avoid the lows that come with the human experience.
As this article quotes:
“Attention,” the psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist writes, “is a moral act: It creates, brings aspects of things into being.”
Sometimes, I push aspects of things into oblivion, a blurry spot in my peripheral vision, because it’s easy.
I claim to crave connection. When meeting people, I’m obsessed with finding the perfect “getting to know ya” question. Someone once said to me, “So, what makes your world go around?” I loved that from him, with his Jeff Goldblum-esque aura, but I don’t think I could get away with it.
What I like most right now is, “What’s exciting in your world?”
After you know someone a bit better, the author of this article, David Brooks, provides some big questions I’ll have to save in my phone’s notes for when I need them:
- What crossroads are you at?
- If the next five years is a chapter in your life, what is the chapter about?
- Can you be yourself where you are and still fit in?
- What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I’m at the crossroads of working on my software and trying not to lose my identity and core practice of art, of deciding if I should stay in this smaller town with a close knit group of friends or consider another big city where I might have more career (and let’s be honest, dating) opportunities, of wondering if I should keep trying to be five kinds of writer or really dive into one genre, of realizing I love the art of community as much as writing and trying to figure out where that fits and what that means.
The next five years? I hope they’re called: And It All Paid Off
Can I be myself where I am and still fit in? Yes, yes, yes.
The thing I would do if I weren’t afraid is nearly the thing I do being terribly afraid most of the time. It’s exactly because I’m such a fearful person that I push myself onto the cliff. But also… I would publish the essay I wrote five years ago.
Thanks for listening. I would love to hear how you’d answer these. Reply if you’d like. I’d love to be reminded you’re human.