Journeying into the business world... one undiscovered culture at a time

Welcome to [Per]Suit of Anthropology, a blog dedicated to the exploration of modern business trends and perspectives from the view of anthropologist, with a special emphasis on cultural understandings of work-life balance and disability rights in the workplace. This blog is a way for me to connect two sides of my professional self that I see in constant dialogue. Though the business world and the anthropological world may not believe it - they have more in common and more to learn from one another than readily acknowledged. Topics covered include: Western business practices and the impact of those decisions on socio-cultural institutions worldwide, invisible disabilities, Ignatian spirituality, work-life balance, and some discussion of issues of tourism and its impacts on culture, and common human capital practices in private industry and government.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

99 problems, and age ain't one!

I sit here, watching the rain come down in cold grey sheets, and wonder, "How many times has she seen the rain fall? How many times has she sipped a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper, like I am now, shaking her head at what the world has come to." She has had no lack of interesting times: World War I and prohibition shaped her childhood, she came of age during the depression, she started a family during World War II, and raised them while seeing the rise of communism, and the fall of her homeland of Lithuania. She saw grandchildren born over a period of 20+ years that spanned the cold war, rejoiced upon the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the liberation of Lithuania, saw her children and grandchildren visit her parent's homeland, witnessed not one, but two attacks on American soil (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), and even was able to vote in an election where the winner was our first African-American president.

I am speaking of my grandmother, who today celebrates her 99th birthday. Though her age has taken her eyesight, and some mobility, she is in incredible shape for her age. I cannot imagine how much she has seen in those 99 years. One experience, in particular, has stuck with me.

When I was little, my grandmother spoke about how she would get dressed up with her mother (stockings, dress, hat, gloves) to go into town to make a telephone call. Yet only a few years ago, while sitting with my mom in DC, we were able to call her on an I-Pad, and chat with her face to face. Her look of surprise, wonder, and even confusion were apparent. She said, in amazement, how incredible it was to see us talking - she almost didn't believe it was truly us.

But not just the advances in technology, but the changes in culture, and perceptions. When I was in high school, I had the chance to go to Japan on an exchange trip. I remember telling my grandmother, and she was so proud. In her lifetime, the Japanese were the enemy - and here her granddaughter was about to go on a trip to promote goodwill, better understanding, and friendship.

It honestly gives me hope - so many people today wonder what our world is coming to, how will we adapt, and how will what we hold dear ever survive. I am sure that throughout her life, my grandmother had those same exact thoughts. And yet, here she is 99 years young, with dozens of grandchildren, and great grandchildren who are out there doing some pretty amazing things... It goes to show that time really does help heal all types of wounds, both for our selves, and for our world. I am trying to sum up this post with some type of poignant words of reflection, but all I have is amazement. When you think about all my grandmother has seen - it is truly a wonder...

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