I had my annual eye check yesterday. An event neither looked forward to or dreaded. My optometrist is very good, but somewhat of an odd bird. He’s a highly knowledgeable and skilled professional, so I merely accepted his lack of personality, since that was not really going to help me see better. He is not a multitasker. All of his attention is on one thing at a time, so if you arrive early, there’s no hello, no acknowledgment of your presence. This fellow is a perfectionist, does his job right, and sees you to the lobby. There are no social graces.
But today, something weird happened. The doc welcomed me into the exam area. We talked about technical stuff like dry eyes, progressive lenses, etc. Then it happened. He started telling me about how he finally got over his struggle with people asking him why he became “just” an optometrist; why didn’t he become an opthamologist and surgeon? His replies to that element were “well, why don’t I become the Surgeon General? Why be the mayor if you can become the Governor? Why not be President? Why not strive to reach the highest pinnacle?”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Not only was a formerly aloof fellow regaling me with his spiritual epiphany, but he was actually talking about an issue that I myself only recently worked out.
I have some physical difficulties that preclude steady employment at present. I have always been a “go get ’em” person. I had a job of great responsibility and a company car at age 19. My parents were very strict and demanded perfection in school and taught me to strive for it in all things. One time I brought home a “B” on a test and my mother read me the Riot Act for not getting an “A+”. So, not working on a career has been bothering me for the last 10 years since my illness was diagnosed. Sure I’ve had part-time positions in the meantime, but nothing career-enhancing. I gave up a promising career in electronics because of pain problems.
Just in the last couple of months I let that go. I realized that my purpose in life is not to be the mountain goat at the top of the hill. I am not physically built for that, and if I was, it still wouldn’t be the way to go. Everything I do, think, and say defines me. The way I treat people defines me. A profession, prestige, or a large paycheck do not.
Of course, one has to earn a living and I am in a unique position to not have to work at the moment. But you try staying home all day with the laundry, cooking and cleaning and see how enriched and evolved you feel. This is where the beauty of the scheme is: with so much time and an active and inquiring mind, I learned about metaphysics, spirituality, being present in a way that also counts for something. My uptight upbringing started falling away; my capacity for love and compassion skyrocketed. I learned to love and accept myself, even though I was not at the top of my chosen career, or at this point, have no career at all.
I can only guess why this doctor opened up to me like this. I think it was a synchronicity for my own benefit, not his. I think I was being given Universal acceptance for my current state; he was merely the mouthpiece.
This is why I love my experiences with people. I learn so much from them, especially the “odd birds”. Thanks to the good doc for delivering the message of the day to me.
I can’t wait to have my eyes checked next year to see what I’ll learn next!