A couple of months ago, The Bean came home from school with an assignment to list 3 things she is an Expert in. Ultimately, she would be required to write an essay informing her audience about her expertise. Not surprisingly, she couldn’t come up with anything. Seriously. She’s seven. In my estimation, the only thing a 7-year-old could qualify as an Expert in, would be “How to talk Mom into giving me dessert” or “How to stay up past bedtime”.
As I read further into the assignment, I understood that she was meant to be able to teach someone how to do whatever it is she decided she is an Expert in. Which got me thinking…what would I write that essay on?
My first thought was parenting. But, no. There are loads of real Experts out there-and as I can honestly attest, they have all written (conflicting) books about How to Be A Perfect Parent. I have no business writing any such book. I would be better qualified to write a “What Not To Do” type book.
Then I thought, “Expat Life”! Only, the truth is, most of my friends have lived more places, speak more languages, incorporate themselves into more cultures, and are much more qualified as Expert. By default, I’m pretty good at moving and figuring out how to make a life work for my family-but I’m not an expert. I’m just good at keeping us comfortable.
So…maybe I’m thinking too grand-scale? What am I an Expert in on a small-scale? I’m a good Girl Scout Leader! But, the truth is, I don’t really follow the rulebook and since I’ve never been a leader in the USA-I’ve never had to manage the sale of a single Cookie. I’m pretty sure that’s the hard part. So, that’s out. I’m a good cook! Only I haven’t really had to cook in the five years we’ve been in Asia and had a helper. So I couldn’t really speak to that.
Okay…back up. What do I love to do?
- Boot Camp! That’s out because I’m not certified and even though I work out at least 5 days/week, and I’ve probably had a half-dozen personal trainers in my life…and I’ve definitely taken every single class available to me here in Bubble Town…I’m not an Expert anybody would pay for my expertise. Rather, they’d workout beside me because I’m self-deprecating and I love good competition.
- Eat & Drink! Yes-for sure. I’m an expert in this..but I’m not a true foodie. I’m not passionate enough about the details. I like food. I have a particular fondness for White Trash food. I also love sushi and all types of ethnic treasures. I love a 5-course gastronomic journey with wine pairings..but I also love Chipotle. Nobody is going to pay to learn about that kind of schizoprenia.
- Run! But I suck at it-I really just do it to keep the crazy at bay. I have no advice to give.
- Shopping!! Yes, but no. I’m no good with somebody else’s taste. I want to be on What Not to Wear. Not for me-to force my esthetic on everybody else. So, nobody’s going to hire me to do that. And I really don’t want a budget. So…that’s out.
- Read! What am I going to do? Review all the books I read? But that takes time away from my reading. And much like my food, I have a varied diet when it comes to reading. I like absolute garbage with my classics and genuine literature. That’s out, too.
OMG. I’m not an expert in anything.
So, then I get to thinking…I have a friend that is seriously a genius. Well, I’m not sure what her IQ is, technically, but I’d wager it’s really high. What she is, folks, is an Expert. In everything. She’s both creative and skilled. She’s clever and unafraid to get her hands dirty. She’s just really good at everything. She knows how to sew her own muck-a-lucks. That’s really a thing! There has been an assertion that I forced her to be my friend by stalking her and just showing up at her house (confirmed). And it occurs to me that I probably stalked her because she is everything I am not. We are currently in charge of Costumes for the ES Musical for the second year in a row. I completely hoodwinked her into “helping” me last year, and I have learned a lot from hanging out with her. I’m too lazy to really learn her skills-but she lets me be her assistant and I’m wicked good at wielding her glue-gun and making spreadsheets to accompany her genius designs. I like to think that if I spend enough time with her, basking in her aura, some of that will rub off on me.
When I’m being honest, if I go back through my closest friends over the past few years…they are all brilliant in some way that I most definitely am not. My closest friend who moved away last year was an Expert in decision-making. Literally, companies hire her to help them make decisions. She helps them to weigh options and help make intelligent choices. I am many things-but I am not en expert at keeping emotions calm and making sound decisions. I’m ever-so-slightly high strung. Maybe she tolerated me because it gave her a project?
Before that, my closest friend was a Speech Pathologist. She understands things about biology and human development and childhood development that I still don’t even remotely get. I can’t even pronounce the things she helps kids work through. Oh, and she managed to keep her career going WHILE being an expat trailing spouse. That is no small task. I never even managed a single work permit.
I could keep going and going but one thing is clear-I choose people who are much more interesting than I am to spend my time with. One would speculate that I might be motivated to go back to school, or more thoroughly pursue getting a certification or an advanced degree in something. Or maybe I could actually learn how to operate the sewing machine so that I didn’t have to burn the crap out of my fingers with the glue-gun. But, no. The truth is…I’m not moved to do any of those things. I really and truly enjoy people who are Better than me. I admit it sometimes is a little bit hero-worship. I’m amazed by my friends’ brains. And their capabilities. And their kindness and tolerance. Yes, the tolerance is key. Because, seriously-how annoying must the-friend-that-can’t-do-anything-well be??
I think my goal will to become an Expert in keeping these incredible people in my life.