I don’t think I ever could have been a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Those guys didn’t seem to have many friends.
I really like people. We’re all so different and unique, and I enjoy getting to know different things about different individuals that help make them exactly who they are. And I like when people know me—really know me—and care about the quirks that make me who I am.
The more we get to know people and genuinely appreciate them for who they are, the more we’re able to be able to be there for them when they really need us. Whenever I’m feeling down, my sister can pretty much always manage to make me feel better—and sometimes it’s simply by sending me a funny cat picture or the foofy dog picture because she knows those things will make me laugh and help cheer me up, even if it’s only for a brief moment.
I think it’s not only important for us to get to know people but to let people get to know us, as well. When we keep everything so guarded, life is a lot less fun. I did this for a period in college, and it was pretty miserable. I quickly discovered that it’s much better to let the right people in your life, because they’ll be the ones to prove to you how much every moment we experience truly matters.
Cue last Friday. Last week was a bit (and way more than a bit) stressful at work. Our entire department was looking forward to the three-day weekend, and I’m pretty sure we were also beyond happy for the jeans day we had on Friday. They’re pretty rare at our company, and somehow they simply make things better.
Friday was also my one-year anniversary, which seemed so weird to me. It’s strange to think that I’ve already been there an entire year and been out of the classroom for this long now. I don’t ever question or regret my decision to leave teaching, but I sometimes wonder if I’m still making as much of an impact in my new career as I did for my students. It’s not that I think the work I do now is not meaningful, but sometimes it’s more difficult to see. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of really smart people at my company, and I’m still learning about the industry—even an entire year later—which is often frustrating.
I had joked with some of the guys in another department that I expected cookies for my one-year anniversary, yet there weren’t any. There were quite a few other people who had anniversaries on the same day, and let’s just say that one year of work doesn’t quite compare to the time they’ve all been in their roles. I knew it was silly, but I also look for any reason to celebrate anything with cookies.
And then my people surprised me.
My friend Amanda asked me to come open something for her—I’m the resident bottle/bag/whatever opener because of my obvious brute strength—and so I untied the grocery bag that was knotted up. Then she told me to look in it. (I don’t why, but I had an immediate paranoia moment that something amphibian hopper-related was going to be in there, even though I don’t think she would ever do that to me.) When I took out what was in the bag, I was reminded of how great people are and how much true relationships matter in life. There were cookies, which means there were smiles. She had also made a magnet that says, “You’re freaking magical! Happy 1 year!” There is a unicorn on it, and she had a lot of my favorite people sign it.
It’s the most beautiful magnet in the world.
It made my day go from “meh” to “yay,” and it made that long and stressful week just a little dot compared to what really matters: people. Every single person has a story and is different in his or her own way. We all have certain things that cheer us up when we’re down, get us excited, make us frustrated, make us laugh, make us cry, make our hearts beat uncontrollably, scare the crap out of us, and do a number of other things to our lives and emotions.
And people should know this stuff about us.
There’s an episode of The Office in which Jim and Pam are playing a prank on Dwight when he is trying to beat the computer system in sales. But he suddenly becomes defeated in another aspect of his life when Angela—the woman he loves—tells Pam she wants to be set up with another man. So Pam, who has been sending him messages as the computer, IMs him to say that Dwight beat the computer and ends with, “You are the superior being.” It was exactly what Dwight needed to give him a little boost, and Pam knew that because Pam knew Dwight.
Life isn’t meant to be spent alone and in secret. While we don’t necessarily have to be open books with every single person we encounter, it’s important to find those people who will love and appreciate us for who we are—the ones who know us and are known by us.
Maybe that’s why we don’t have T-rex arms—that poor sap couldn’t even hug other dinosaurs.