by Elspeth Allsopp
I don’t know about you, but I have grown tired of a certain conversation that many of us participate in daily. It goes something like this:
“Hi, how are you?”
“Fine, thanks. And you?”
I doubt that most of us are honestly fine when we tell our peers that we are. We all have things racing through our minds, from paying the bills to getting to our next appointment on time. Daily life can often be so overwhelming that we forget to stop, take a breath and genuinely enjoy a conversation with someone.
Of course, general pleasantries are not the only things we might miss out on while living inside our heads. A quirky comment that might give us the best laugh of the day, a moment where our help might be greatly needed or a chance to sit down and relax with a friend are easily lost when we skim the surface in our interactions with other human beings. Sure, it can be difficult to remove ourselves from the stresses and worries of our own individual lives, but it is important to do so if we want to really live life.
I have been blessed with a passion for working with people who help me remember that living (and enjoying) life is more important than catching your favorite TV shows or taking yet one more trip to the mall. For the past few years, I have been lucky enough to work with some of the most amazing individuals with a wide range of differing abilities. These individuals (people with Autism, Down Syndrome, etc), who frequently have to face adversity, never fail to show me what true happiness is all about. Their ability to enjoy their lives to the fullest and make the most of everything they can is inspiring, and it reminds me that I should be doing the exact same thing.
Thus, my position at Hammer Residences (a non-profit organization aiding the hopes and dreams of individuals with disabilities) has been a perfect match. Each day that I go to work, I am given the opportunity to put aside my worries and enjoy time with four amazing people who never fail to make me smile. Rarely do I encounter the “fine” conversation in all of its superficial variations. No, I spend my time dancing, swimming and visiting the best places in the Twin Cities.
I couldn’t ask for better people with whom to work, people who make me feel genuinely happy and peaceful simply through their enjoyment of our loud, fast-paced and crazy world. Being present in the moment is a gift, and thanks to my friends at Hammer I am able to enjoy this gift on a regular basis.
Thank you so much Elspeth. It is amazing work we get to do!
Great words and a great reminder. Thanks, Elspeth. Not many can say what you have about their job. Lucky we are!
If people with disabilities always make you smile and never give a superficial answer to things, something is really wrong.
We have bad days just like everyone else. We’re rude. We’re inconvenient. We’re angry. We want privacy. We don’t always want to talk to you or share our deep feelings.
Sometimes we’re boring.
And a lot of us like TV and the mall or other superficial things.
If people you have power over always seem happy, it’s because you’re forcing them to display a happy affect and ignoring them when they don’t.
It’s not right to do that to people.
We have a right to the full range of emotions and life activities, just like everybody else.