“Opportunity” is one of my favorite words. I associate it with other positive words like “go-getter” and “career woman.” Only recently did I realize how it could also be related to greed.
In a surprising series of self-examination and (pa)deep conversations with others, I realized that opportunities make me greedy. I fall prey to inviting words like “opportunity to grow,” and “opportunity to learn.” While inherently good, they have caused me to spend less time with the people I love and to focus less on service and on kindness whenever I deal with others.
In most situations, instead of reflecting on what I could give, I’ve been doing cost-benefit analyses of what learning and career advancement I could get. While not plotting evil and deception them, I realized that this kind of default mindset is not anchored on living a life of love and purpose. And it’s subtly been revealing even deeper internal struggles I never knew I had.
I uncovered my fear of unproductivity. I always have to be doing something “productive.” When I’m stuck in traffic, when I’m washing dishes, when I’m waiting for people–I have to be working on something, or at least listening to audiobooks. It takes more discipline to stop working and go to sleep, than to get up from the bed in the morning.
I’m thinking that maybe it’s because sometimes, I get my self-worth from my productivity in work or in school, even if I know that it should stem from things that go way deeper than that. Self-worth that depends on external things is damaging, because nothing will ever be enough.
Earlier tonight, I wrote one of my college besties a letter which says, “With your skills and work ethics, I’m sure you’ll go places. But I hope those places are where you truly and sincerely love to be.”
In my situation, I know the place where I’d love to be. My problem is that I’m always trying to get to the next part of the itinerary in the quickest and most efficient way possible–that I forget to enjoy the journey I’ve been seeking for ever since I was a little girl. Now that I’m finally in this path, I don’t want to miss it.
Photos by Zeus Martinez
HMU by Gela Martinez