Originally published on 12-23-10
Today I will send and receive: texts, picture mail, work email, personal email, and BBMs. And, if I try really hard I could squeeze in some Gmail and Facebook chat time. Will any of these interactions be deep and meaningful? Probably not. But when I go home and take Beau for a walk, I will see and chat with Yolanda and then I will feel connected to the human race again.
Beau and I have walked by Yolanda’s apartment courtyard, where she gardens in the afternoons, everyday for a year and half. I’ve waived hello, but never actually struck up a conversation.
A few weeks ago, Beau and I went on our usual walk and I had a few extra minutes, so I decided to turn off my iPod and introduce myself to my neighbor, and ask her how she was doing. In 10 minutes I learned that: Yolanda is from Cuba, she has lived in Chicago, Miami and Puerto Rico, she has had breast cancer, she is 77 years old, she pays $500 rent, and she lives alone with no family nearby. Typical? No. Impactful? Yes.
Our conversation came to an end, and as I wished her a nice day my eyes welled up, and Beau and I walked home. I felt good. I felt like I had made a positive difference in her day.
Every once in a while, squeeze in some genuine connection time. Genuine connection time does NOT include “Friending” more people on Facebook. And, there ISN’T an app for it. Get out of your own head, strike up a conversation with someone, listen, and actually make it all about them. Listen and care authentically. It can make your day, and more importantly, their day.