As a generalist, I have often enjoyed when specialists from two tangentially divergent fields exchange their awes. In one of the recent gatherings, I happened to witness the spectacle of two specialists discussing their professional experience – one a seasoned seafarer and the other a professional investment banker. I was acquainted with both of them, thanks to my past experiences and common friends.
While the seafarer was exploring the thrills of his profession, the investment banker was busy reflecting his enlightening experience of multi-million dollar deals. While the seafarer was talking about his exploits in Brazil and Mexico, the investment banker was mentioning his late night office hours in London and New York devising winning strategies. While the seafarer emphasized his expertise with operations of pipelines and engines, the investment banker was proud of his ultra sophisticated financial models. While casual comfort marked the nature of the seafarer, conscious sophistication defined the attitude of the investment banker. But the question remained unsettled…which of these professions is associated with more glamour and money?
The talks continued….the comparisons gradually waned...and after the initial extravaganza, they soon resorted to a new topic…somewhat pensive but relatively practical….about their families….about their personal lives…The seafarer’s life oscillates between the sea and the land with an allocation of six months for the respective stays. The investment banker mostly spends his time in offices and travelling with occasional visits to home. Every time the seafarer gets back home, his people are older by six months. Every time the investment banker gets back home, he finds his people lost in deep sleep. The dream of the seafarer is to earn enough so that he can stay with his family…in his hometown...and can live his dreams. The investment banker aspires to earn enough wealth in the next decade that will enable him to retire and live his dreams with his family for the rest of his life.
Especially when I come across such discussions (the frequency of which keeps on increasing), I feel most of us are in the same boat. Residing within a colorful façade, we so successfully pursue our aspirations. We aspire to be successful….success makes us strive for more. We identify ourselves with this ever widening scope of success and all the recognitions it’s associated with.
But is this success potent enough to stir that little thing which sits within us and continually requests nourishment...the fulfillment of which provides individual contentment…without any further extension of the boundaries.
Are aspirations and dreams two different entities in the present day context? More I look into, the more I sense so. And the divergence seems to be widening.