I once read an article that emphasized the importance of asking new acquaintances questions other than the tired and true "So, what do you do for work?" when starting up a conversation. It focused on how society strongly views our jobs as what defines us when in reality there's so much more to us as people than our occupations.
The article challenged its readers to ask people questions like "What drives you?" or "What do you like to do outside of work?" or "What are you passionate about in life?", instead.
I thought this was all pretty intriguing since there was once a time when people asking me what my job was made me feel a little self conscious. Like being a nanny was below my potential or something. Or when people would assume I was still in college and I was only nannying as a side job until I found a "real" one. One you'd consider an actual occupation with room to grow instead of "Nope. Just a nanny".
But I always wondered how I'd answer those other questions. There's so much more to me than being "just a nanny" yet it's so hard to come up with what exactly that is, let alone articulate it to some stranger who's trying to get to know me for five whole minutes at happy hour.
I don't even know how I'd answer it.
Like what happens when what you do outside of work involves sitting on the couch eating Talenti Gelato while watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Or what happens when what you're passionate about in life is passing all the suckers waiting in a line out the door at Chipotle to pick up your order at the counter because you're the genius who ordered ahead with the iPhone app. Extra corn salsa please, P.S.
Of course there's more to me than just that. But the "more" is quite overwhelming.
I get lost down my roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions thinking about what's outside of our world, let alone solar system, let alone Milky Way, let alone (what comes after that, again?) about three times a week.
Like what happens when people are gone? When the world, the universe, the everything is all gone? What's left? Nothing? What even is nothing? Can nothing even be nothing when there isn't anyone or anything around to know that it's nothing? Who will remember that there ever was a something? Will I know that I was ever alive when I die? Will my soul go somewhere and become something else? Will I chill up in the clouds with endless burrito bowls delivered to me by sparkly unicorns wearing pink Hunter Boots? Or do I get to live a new life in a new body and go to Hogwarts? But if I do I won't get to know that I was ever Erin Gray first since I currently don't know that I was ever someone else before this life. So reincarnation can't be a thing, right? At least not reincarnating and being aware of yourself doing it. Like what in the actual fuck is life and why is it even a real thing?
Do I tell the stranger that about me?
Do I tell them that I think the thought of having a career depresses me and I could give negative a hundred and ten thousand percent of a shit about having one or ever doing something for work every day that I'm incredibly passionate about. Because all I've ever really wanted out of life is a family. And what drives me is getting to one day be the best mom and the best wife I ever can be and getting to decorate the Christmas tree in matching pajamas and eating breakfast together every morning in our sun-drenched nook and remembering to tell my husband he has a cute butt even when he's 90. The small happy moments with those I love most. That's what drives me. That's what living is meant for.
Do I tell the stranger that and let them think I'm practically out of my damn mind?
Or do I simply respond back to them "Just a nanny" and order another seventeen Miller Lites?