Is This My Punchline?

I watched a TED talk with a very common message, but framed from such a different angle that I couldn’t stop turning it this and that way in my mind.  Like I said, it’s a common motivational speech topic – the importance of finding your calling. Michael Jr, who delivered the talk, is a comedian so he naturally uses the analogy of life being like the setup and punchline of a joke.  He does a masterful job getting his point across, but I kept getting hung up on the concept of a punchline.   

To me, a punchline is an unexpected twist that ends the joke.  To get there Michael explains that the setup is important so everyone is moving in the same direction.   In 2008, the elements of my life seemed to be moving, pretty much together, in a great direction. In my career especially, I felt like I was finally really hitting my stride.  Yes, 10 years behind the ambitious schedule my naive college-self had planned, but very satisfying. I loved what I did, my coworkers and the company. Colleagues and clients respected my expertise and valued my input.  In November I received a prestigious award from the company.

So yeah, in January 2009 a diagnosis of ALS definitely was an unexpected twist that seemed like the ultimate end of a not-so-funny joke.

But it hasn’t been the end, and in some ways it was the start of something.  Michael Jr. points out that sometimes a seeming setback is actually still part of the setup.  My hang up about the meaning of the term “punchline” is because I was thinking about it from the perspective of a passive audience member.  But (hopefully) we aren’t passive observers of our own lives. Because Michael is a comedian, crafting and delivering the punchline is his purpose for being.  

So I am wondering – is this blog my punchline?  

2 thoughts on “Is This My Punchline?”

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