Saturday, December 20, 2014

Being Recognized, Taking Credit, and the Meaning of Gray Hairs

This was a very interesting week for a whole lot of reasons.  I think that one of the most interest set of reasons was a set of comments about me. 

First, I went to a meeting back at School of Public Health where I used to work and several people at the table commented that if they had not known it was me they would not have recognized me.  That is an interesting thing to hear from people I have known for quite some time.  But it has been almost two year so I thought about what had changed.  I used to have my hair a good bit longer.  So that is one difference.  I’ve grayed a bit over the past two years.  So that is a second difference.  And I could probably county of one hand the number of times that I wore a really sharp looking suit when I worked a the School of Public Health.  So, there were a lot of differences.  I tend to think of myself as the “same old Kevin” but I suppose I’m not.  The picture shows it.  And it is a reminder that clothes sometimes matter. 

The picture was actually “post meeting” rather than “pre-meeting.’  The picture was taken after I got what I think of as my pre-holiday haircut.  No, I’m not in elementary school needing my haircut before the Christmas picture with Santa.  But I usually find it useful to get a hair cut at this time of year. 

I have been going to the same person for a haircut for a while now and my family knew her before we started getting our hair cut by her.  So, we know her pretty well and she knows us pretty well.  She heard the story about the trials and tribulations of presenting myself well for work.  Obviously, one doesn’t make it to full professor at Johns Hopkins without being able to present oneself.  However, I was told six months ago that to continue to progress I needed to dress better and it has made a difference in how I am perceived.  The person who cuts my hair has commented very favorably on the new suit I got, on the shorts that I got with it, and on both pairs of shows and how sharp they look.

In any case, we were discussing a variety of things including my marathon run in Philadelphia.  What was interesting about that part of the conversation was her reminder to me that while it is important to acknowledge those around us who help us to get through things, we shouldn’t hesitate to give ourselves credit where credit is due.  Specifically, she pointed out that it was my decision to prepare for the race.  My decision to stick with it.  My decision to do all the workouts that were planned for me.  My decision to keep up with the paces and the mileage day after day and week after week.  And while my friend could say, “you’ve trained for just this moment,” I still had to make the choice and find the way to finish it. 

This is a reminder to me of the importance of stories.  Telling stories.  Listening to stories.  Framing stories. Relating to stories so that two people can relate to each other.

And stories did come directly into our conversation one other way.  I noticed how much grey hair fell on the floor as my hair was being cut.  I commented that I hadn’t noticed that there was so much gray.  Rachael commented back (although I can’t quote her verbatim).  Don’t worry about it.  Each gray hair is part of you.  Each gray hair is part of your story.  And you don’t notice because it doesn’t matter. 

What a healthy outlook on life. 

Experience my story.  Tell my story.  Accept my story.  And live.  

Quick PS: Up to 2160.2 miles.  Saw an interesting site on Loch Raven Boulevard this morning.  A group of crows sharing the spoils of someone's leftovers in a takeout container left on the ground in the middle of the road.  

No comments:

Post a Comment