We grow up learning how to walk, talk, eat, write and speak in order not exclude ourselves from certain opportunities and to get a good job; in a word, to make a good impression. But to what end? What for?
There is a woman who has come into my life as my house cleaner. She was always good at her work and a huge help with the load of laundry that has my name on it. But not until recently did I grasp the impression she has quietly made upon me.
Sometimes I wish I could harken back to the time when everyone had less and expected less. Some of my favorite memories are from visiting my grandma in her magical little farmhouse in her quiet town in minnesota. Her life was simple yet filled to the brim with small joys and purpose. At 95, to everyone she meets her warmth, enthusiasm and zest still makes an impression.
This weekend I visited a Latin American art exhibit in St. Petersburg and saw a replica of someone's bare essentials kitchen of their childhood home. They were celebrating it. Were they taught the necessity of making a good impression? What for?Life was good then.
It made an impression.
You see, I have no idea where my house helper lives or what she has in terms of material possessions. My house-helper likes her work. She knows she helps me and she is happy knowing this. She has her hobbies, her work, her home.
She has made an impression.
Don't get me wrong. Culturally we value things that are good. There is value in doing your best, having good posture and manners and to be able to communicate effectively. You just have to figure out what for.