There’s this weird decision that is made for us in growing up.
Somewhere in the testing room of life, between I-hate-you-mom angst and I-hate-you-student-loan angst, we were presented with this question.
Which of the following must you adopt into your psyche to survive adulthood?
A. Life sucks
B. People are selfish and/or also suck
C. Everything and/or everyone is out to get you
D. All of the above, ya sorry son-of-a, WELCOME TO THE CLUB.
Throughout said angst-betweens, we were fed several hints. Older cousins said it was D. Tired parents said it was D. Run-down iBanker interns whom you stand behind in line at Starbucks, please believe he let you know it was D (And you just asked him how his day was going, Jesus H. CHRIST).
I mean, you Google or Yahoo Answers the damn thing and it was D.
Apparently, life is supposed to suck.
Well, call me naive.
Then stop that. My name is Berna.
And I don’t think life is supposed to suck.
In fact, I have it on good authority–this authority being my summer here in New York–that things can go pretty damn swimmingly if you put out the good you seek.
I had the privilege of nomming with Jenny Buccos tonight, of ProjectExplorer.org & GoodGlobalCitizen. This woman’s list of people she’s worked with is like Everything You Should Be Ashamed To Have Gotten Wrong On Your Modern History Test merged with Who’s Who of Pop Culture: The Not-Ruined-By-Sex,-Drugs-or-a-Lack-of-Good-Common-Sense Edition. Her & her tiny team have accomplished an inhuman amount towards Project Explorer. So much so that I literally exclaimed, over the best gelato of my life, “JENNY. SERIOUSLY. Why are you having dinner with me?!”
But what slapped me in the face was that much of her success stemmed from simply seeking to spread good.
- She had a good idea, with good intentions: To educate children of the world. No strings or profit goal attached.
- She worked her ass off & reached out to good people, and they opened incredible doors for her.
- Also, she credits her wild success to a lil’ bit of philanthropically-driven naivete. (She got her start in producing by writing a letter to her favorite famous producer; she got mad funding for PE’s birth by writing a letter to Kevin Spacey. You best break out your Papyrus.)
Now, I’m watching her get mid-dinner calls from the United Nations Ambassador to South Africa, whom she partied with on the Upper East Side last week.
He leaves the cutest voicemails.
Her life does not suck.
& While my accomplishments curl into fetal and cry in comparison to hers, I can identify with that cycle.
All this summers’ once-in-a-lifetime lunches, incredible meet & greets, this whole internship; post-grad opportunities, HangPROUD, these chances to get paid for what I love to do…
I ask the people who give me these opportunities, I ask the most successful people I know, how it all came to this, for me, for them.
And they all do the same:
Shrug. I don’t know. You asked for it.
You put something pure out there with your words, your blogs, your why-not e-mails and letters, your work, that you just want to do something good with your life & you know exactly how you can contribute to it…
Life responds to that.