Recently, I had a most excellent conversation with a paddler named Bob. Have you ever had one of those conversations where you meet someone, know you're probably never gonna see that person again, and end up talking like old friends? These sorts of conversations usually happen to me in bars, and this one did happen in a bar. However, I want it noted for the record that Bob drank soda water, and I had two (as in one, then two) small bottles of Duvel.
I won't go into all the sordid details of the Bob conversation because such details are private, extremely boring to everyone else, and serve no purpose to the point I'm trying to make. What is my point? Oh yes! My latest epiphany.
Early in the conversation, Bob's answer to the ‘what do you do' question was kayaking (rivers, not ocean). His answer made me light up and nostalgic for my own river paddling adventures and mishaps. Yes, I think of myself almost drowning in a kayak with a crack in it and smile. I didn't know it had a crack in it until after the fact.
My point and my latest epiphany did not come out of my memories of a very wet experience. My barroom epiphany came from Bob's answer. He answered ‘what do you do' with his favorite thing to do (dare I call it, passion), not the thing that he did to make money.
One might look at paddling and say ‘oh that's just a hobby'. Why should a hobby be just a hobby? Why should it be dismissed in that way? Perhaps the argument would go to ‘oh you do that, but you're not being productive'. My argument as someone who has drank river water is that money making productivity is overrated. Let the guy be happy. He was happy by the way.
Talking with Bob, I started to wonder. How do we define ourselves? Does simply who we are define us? Or do we define ourselves by what we do? Are we angels in our actions or simply in our being? Do we do what we do because of who we are, so therefore our actions are an accurate definition of ourselves? What if one doesn't act? Is inaction a way of declaring self?
I say I do this or I do that, but what are those actions really worth to me? Must everything have a value? Or is it only time which should be valued?