Monday Motivation: About Face On The Face

Every morning, I board a train headed to midtown New York for work. And each day, the train is filled with other people, the large majority of whom are also headed to work. I gather this because I know the hour of the day, the routine of the American/New York worker and the mostly professional appearance of so many of my fellow commuters.

In observing and thinking about my fellow passengers on the train this morning, I found myself wondering how a foreigner would perceive this sight; specifically, someone completely new to the country/city and oblivious to the personal and professional norms and customs of the area.

I pose this question because of the various faces and dispositions I noticed all around me. The overwhelming majority of the faces tell the story of people who are apparently headed to their death — either that or there’s a mass epidemic of indigestion going around. I see worry, stress and disdain. I see pursed lips, furrowed brows, and slumped shoulders; these have somehow become the mark of a professional adult.

What does it say about the lives we are living if in the first few hours of the first day of the new week we already find ourselves assuming an inferior disposition? Are our lives really that terrible? Are we that close to our final days?

I’m convinced that so many of us have bought into the narrative that implicitly tells us that stress is the modus operandi — that things are not good if you’re not feeling bad. We’ve either willingly bought into it or we’ve been doing it for so long we now know no other way of operating.

If were to describe to the aforementioned foreigner that this was the beginning of another workweek, they would likely be surprised. They would possibly highlight that we’re alive, awake, have our working faculties and have another opportunity to pursue a livelihood. They would possibly say that the very fact that we have this moment means that we have been granted the gift of being able to keep writing our future in the way we want. They would also possibly say that the fact we even have the option of looking so sullen should be enough to give us joy!

So as you start and continue on your day and week, I encourage you to think about what your face and posture may be portraying about you. There’s no need for you to look like what you may have been through; you’ve got too much going for you in this very moment right now for you to spend any more time wallowing on the past.

Onwards and upwards!

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