One of the things I do miss about working is the energy of the students who served as our interns and paid students. I was thinking about this, about the world we are leaving to the generations behind us and the words of one young woman, a student working in my department, came to mind.
One night, after a screening, I drove her back to her dorm, as it was late and pouring rain. We were talking school and projects, the frustration of group projects and then she said, "But then, life is one big group project."
One big group project. True enough, isn't it?
We may do our world solo, appreciating the autonomy that comes with making our own decisions and operating on our own schedules. But sometimes we all need a little help -- whether it comes in the form of actual assistance or through the support of others who are on our side, urging us on to achieve our goals.
The group project concept crosses a number of areas. Take your creative soul, for example. I speak only for myself, but I find that when I can work and create as part of a group, I tend to discover new things more quickly, fall back less on old (and sometimes poor) habits and take chances I might not do on my own.
I love a class situation when a bunch of people who may or may not start out knowing one another end up encouraging and suggesting or asking for your constructive advice. There is something organic about how, during the course of creativity, conversation and ideas flow -- sometimes related to the project at hand, sometimes completely off topic -- but valuable.
It is almost as though by the very act of creating in company, something in the brain opens up to be receptive to all around us, whether it is the seasoned advice of an expert instructor or the casual comment of the person beside you -- "What if you moved that a little to the right?"
And while I have to say that while my creative work is my own, every piece, every photo, every word owes a debt to someone, someplace in time. Someone who encouraged, guided, taught, praised, questioned or listened.
The same holds true of just about everything in life. If you have a walking buddy, you might be more likely to get out and walk each day. If you're taking a class that's difficult, having a study partner can help clear some of the fog. I know I never would have come through my two semesters of statistics in grad school without my study group pal, Tom. The bonds forged through those cold winter days of trying desperately to get my brain around something so alien forged a lifelong friendship.
Group projects were a factor of my everyday life when I was still working. With every television show you watch, every event you attend, there are far more people at work than you can imagine -- far more than are "seen" by the general public. You see the television show. But it is the product of not only on-screen talent, but the director, audio and video crews, the graphics specialist, the writer, the editors and more. And the fact one knows about the program it at all may be related to what I did, with communication and promotion.
Rick is dealing with a giant group project right now. His partners in this will be his four brothers and no doubt me, their wives, his mom's medical team, his mom and her friends. All will need to work together, sharing tasks and ideas to determine how to handle the living situation after she is released from rehabilitation. This "project" will be taking place from five households thousands of miles away, as his four brothers are spread out over four states, none in which is where she lives. It will not be easy, not everyone will agree and there will probably be tears. But ultimately, everyone must come together for a common purpose -- the best care and situation for this dear woman whose life was turned upside down with one fall.
l look at our world and domestic situation and as usual, my mind goes to Covid. Can you think of any greater group project than that of developing a vaccine for a virus that has affected millions worldwide? And they pulled together, doing this in record time.
Now it is up to us to get our vaccinations, wear our masks, keep our distance and stop the spread. It's our giant group project and together we may not be able to make it disappear -- no miracles there -- but we may be able to get a handle on it so we can go out to dinner -- inside -- or hug each other and those little munchkins who are growing up so fast in front of our eyes. Or rather, on Zoom or Facetime.
This is our collective group project -- probably one of many, including healing our country. What are some of yours?