One of my corporate clients recently returned to work after some serious surgery and recuperation. During that time his elderly mom had died, so it was a real transition time for him.
The break from work had done him a lot of good. Ironically the recuperation time had allowed him to spend more quality time with his mom before she died than he might have been able to otherwise.
He had a really good attitude, had regained his perspective. We laughed at some of the things that used to stress him out (and some that still do).
He had taken to keeping in his truck’s glove compartment what he calls “The Calming Cow”…an old stuffed animal of his grandchildren. He said that looking at it reminds him of them, and not to take things too seriously. His grandchildren rib him about it, but he doesn’t mind.
I love his sense of humor and also observed that the pain he must have been feeling before his surgery must have made him grouchy sometimes. He wondered aloud how he could have both a sense of humor and be grouchy.
It reminded me of a documentary I saw recently on Carol Spinney, the eighty-year-old puppeteer who plays both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Everyone who knows the puppeteer says he has aspects of both characters in him. Carol says that Oscar has exactly the opposite attitude of everything the puppeteer himself believes.
But like most things, we have the potential to be two characters (and more…). It is the contrast of light and shade that makes us human, and relatable.
The Muppets (and their puppeteers) knew this all along.
“Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”
May we pursue our paths, embracing all aspects of our humanity,