No doubt, there is something special in this year we are going through. Incidents that tend to happen fast are threatening to pass as if they never happened; those that linger might never leave us at all. Either way, they fall upon us in surprise.
"You're a philosopher!", a teacher in my daughter's elementary squinted at me, tilting her head slightly. I said to her that probably we all are, yet maybe this trait is somewhat more pronounced in me.
When I return to this remark, the teacher's remark, it adds up to the array of impressions I have of everything around me and around the world. And my family, along with endless other families, familiar and foreign to me, continue to inspire me.
What is it indeed that inspires people?
A small part of an answer could be seen in the following:
Being self-obsessed always risks being blind to what's around me. I live, work, cope and explore. Sometimes I am totally frustrated, like when the company that makes my favorite yogurt replaces its packaging from 750 grams to 650. Obviously there are more serious frustrations like dysfunctional communications in the team I work. But mostly I succeed in much of what I do and even gain appreciation from said team. I solved the yogurt issue, as usual, in an unconventional way. And it always feels like a lot of luck is involved. But quick reflection reveals that a lot of planning, work and creativity took place.
And then I hear that my sister saved the life of a refugee; my brother provides heavenly treats to his satisfied clients; my sister in law continues to consult complex industries. And my mom? My mom leans back at the head of the table in a content sigh.
This is only part of the answer: I am part of this. The excellence I am trying to promote has roots somewhere. Yes. I am like this too. But not only. And not alone. I am part of something larger than me.
Occasionally, I allow myself to lean back in a content sigh.
But this happens fast and is threatening to pass as if it never happened.
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When another sister in law asks me how my yogurt issue was resolved I had to share.
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Actually, the issue is still unresolved. I just didn't want to worry anyone. Or burden anyone with redundant details. It's still in progress. Initially I sent Liberté an email asking them to urgently return the 750 grams packaging. In return I got a gift card valued at approximately two yogurts of my choice.
In short, I stopped buying the 650 grams units.
In more detail, I but another item of the same company that is still packaged in a 750 grams container.
In even more detail, I buy two products of the same company and mix them for consumption in the following days.
But I had a grandmother who had a habit of answering simple questions with elaborate stories. This one pays homage to her. We purchased a scale that is accurate to the gram. The one we had that is accurate to the 5 grams was good enough in my view. But my daughter insisted that we must have the one gram accurate scale. We could have used my three beams scale from the time I was mixing glazes. It is accurate to the tenth of the gram. To this she said "enough is enough"!
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There are days when I think of the Meltdown incidents where embarrassed parents stand beside their screaming toddler in the middle of a shop. No one really knows why and what would save the moment. Even stepping quickly out to the street makes no difference.
I had this moment today. I was surveying the yogurt shelves. The sacks below my eyelids drooped into a miserable gaze. I felt how my energies drained onto the sticky floor beneath the industrial cooler. Not only was my favorite yogurt absent, I had to confront the reminders to previous disasters lined up in front of my eye. One time I accidentally brought home a vanilla yogurt - Gosh, NO(!). Another, it was a 0% yogurt (Eeeeek!)
I can't help thinking of the Meltdown incidents and muse: I wish I could throw myself down, here on the floor so that someone could pick me up in their hugging, soothing and comforting hands.
Still, I returned home with one container of a 5% yogurt and one with 0% which I will mix together into a reasonable compromise. This in turn brings me back to my dear pottery teacher, who among other things, taught me to say: "How I envy myself!"