A friend recently connected me with a woman that was in town to film a documentary. The film team asked me if I was willing to be interviewed the very next day. Since it fit into my calendar, I said yes and didn’t give it much more thought.
We had all made our introductions when I finally got around to inquiring of the documentary topic. I just assumed that I had been singled out to discuss women and leadership. I was mentally prepared to discuss the challenges that women face today in the workplace. However, I was way off base. Ashley was a Child Psychologist at the University of Hawaii and taught a class on culture across lifespans. As the interview started, she informed me that I didn’t have to answer any question if I felt uncomfortable. I smiled and said that I was an open book and didn’t mind talking.
We talked for about an hour and she didn’t leave many stones unturned. She was curious about the transitions in my life and how it led me to where I am today. We discussed careers and kids and my view on how to manage work/life balance. She wanted to know about each of my children and how and why they were different. She was very curious about my 33-year marriage and what I believed was the secret to staying married such a long time.
Since this interview was truly about culture, we spent some time discussing my childhood and how I raised my own children. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and our time was over. The event had truly been a wonderful experience.
As I walked out, I gave thought to why I had enjoyed myself so much. I realized that it had given me the opportunity to take a good look at my life. It enabled me to objectively talk about my children, my husband, and my career and make the realization that I had a lot to be grateful for in life. The pointed questions that she asked had encouraged me to talk about many things that don’t usually come up in conversation. It was a good feeling to reminisce.
The whole experience made me consider that we spend too many days focusing on what’s wrong in our life and not enough on what’s going right. We can become obsessed with the people that disappoint us, or the things that we wish would be different. We lust for the things that we don’t possess or worry about things that, chances are, won’t happen. In our minds, we assume that if we had this different life, then everything would be better. Then, we would have the life that we always wanted.
The interview actually made me realize my contentment. No— things aren’t perfect. My back still hurts and I still have this annoying sinus problem that won’t go away. However, things could be much worse, so I work around the stuff that’s not perfect. The point is that I’m very clear on what’s important in my life. I refuse to waste time on the things that truly don’t matter.