The first thing I want to tell you all today is that I am officially on cloud 9. We’ll talk about how I got here in a bit but stating that I am on cloud 9 is the most important thing. Even a week ago I wasn’t so sure I was going to see cloud 9 agaain and certainly not this soon. Yet, here we are.
I had a good day. I even managed to have a good day with only about 4.5 hours worth of sleep. Sometimes it is true that how you sleep is more critical than how long you sleep because I feel pretty well-rested right now.
The next thing I want to say is that the offer in my last post still stands. If you want to ask me a direct question, I will answer anything honestly.
Now we’re going to talk about some of the things that I have learned recently and how they have helped to change my mood at least for now. Granted, things can always change again but this is about how I got here.
First, my friend I Like the Remix said I have inspired her to write again. I suspect this will last until I start asking her to edit my audiobook reviews again and yes, some will be coming soon.
I’ve mentioned my new friend a few times and I will several more I’m sure. But it is the conversation we had today that has helped leave me in a better state of find, for now. I’m not going to share a lot of specifics about our talk because private is private for many reasons but I can illustrate a few things without much in the way of specific details.
The most important lesson I have learned is why it is important to let new people into your life from time to time. New people see you in a way that people who have known you for a long time simply cannot. When my new friend and I interacted for the first time we knew nothing of each other’s personal journey of life. What we were seeing in each other was the culmination of all of our life experiences up to that moment. Whereas someone who has been with you the whole time such as a family member or close friend sees you evolve on a more gradual basis.
When my new friend tells me her impression of me based on the little she knows so far, she is seeing me differently than my best friend who has known me since we were children.
I think this is why it is fairly common for old friends to grow apart. How often have you reconnected with a person you knew well at a certain time in your life only to discover how much you both have changed? You might still enjoy each other’s company but it isn’t what it was back in the day. You’ve both changed, you’re aware of how you’ve changed but until you see their changes for yourself you are still being guided by memories.
My new friend did not set out to teach me something new about myself, it happened organically. Talking to her I realized that I have misjudged myself. Last summer I wrote a post titled ‘Confessions of a Poor Communicator’. It turns out that I am actually not a poor communicator.
What I realized with her help is that I am a dependent communicator. If I am talking with someone who likes to talk, has interesting things to say and that I find generally fascinating I do my best to respond in kind. If I am talking to someone who is vague, hard to get in touch with and isn’t willing to sometimes lead the conversation then I respond in kind. I rise up to or sink to the level of those around me.
Obviously, a lot of communication depends on the other person to begin with and here is an example of what I mean. I have two friends, one named Scott and the other named Duane. If I ask them both the same question, ‘how was your week at work?’ I will get two different answers.
Scott will tell me that his week was okay. If something difficult happened or they were very busy I will probably be informed of that. If it was good, it will be described as being okay. I get the same response from him every time I ask him about the movie he just saw. It was “pretty good”. I still ask to be nice but I know what the answer is going to be. I also know that if I ask for more details I might get some but more often than not ‘pretty good’ is going to be the best answer.
Contrast that with Duane. When I ask him about his work week I will hear about specific things that happened good and bad. If he had a problem, I’ll hear what that problem was, how it was resolved and how he felt about the wole thing. If I ask him about the movie I’ll hear about favorite scenes, character development and other insight.
Scott is a listener, Duane is a thinker. I got to Scott when I want to vent and I go to Duane when I want perspective. I don’t ask Scott for advice because it is not his strongsuit. I don’t go to Duane to vent, unless I’m ready to stop venting and see the bigger picture. One is no better or worse than the other they are just different. I am more thoughtful and reasoned in my conversations with Duane because he can follow my train of thought (although sometimes I can go off on tangents that are difficult for even him) and I am more expressive with Scott because he’s willing to just let me be angry if that’s what I want to be.
Of course, a person can be a good communicator and a bad communicator depending on the day. As my new friend said, she’s not always going to be “sunshine and candybars” and I don’t expect her to be. But what I’m trying to say with all of that is that I am a more reactive communicator than a proactive one. I tend to take my cue from the other person and act accordingly. I wish I were more proactive and to be more proactive I need to be less shy and more self-assured.
I also know from other recent chats with others that I am better at communicating detail than feeling. For example, in my second post yesterday I gave a lot of details of my relationship to Ginny. My entry was not without emotion but it was not the dominant feature. Striving to be better at expressing feeling has been something I’ve been working on for a couple of years.
Relationships are interesting. Some of them burn hot for awhile and fade away. Sometimes they serve a specific purpose at a specific time and once they have done what they needed to they change or fall away. Then there are those that survive the test of time.
Call it a hunch and maybe a bit of wishful thinking but I believe my new friend and I are going to fit in the latter category. I don’t think you’ll learn in 6 months that we barely talk anymore. We might not keep up our current pace (we’ve been quite conversational so far) but I don’t think we’re going to get bored of one another. For one thing, talking to her is so uplifting. She has said things about me that I’ve never heard about myself before.
From my point of view though, I also love talking to her because she fascinates me so much. This is a weird example but it fits. On an intellectual level I obviously am aware that there are people in the world who don’t know what ‘Lucky Charms’ are. But knowing that intellectually and knowing someone for whom that is personally true is not the same.
Things that are routine and mondain for me and make me feel bored because they are constantly here fill her with wonder and curiosity. I recommend her post on discovering my home state of South Dakota. This is what she wrote about a pizza restaurant:
Godfather’s Pizza – it’s all in the name….it helps that I happen to love pizza too! With a name like that, I simply cannot resist!
How could I not like someone who would want to eat at a pizza place because of the name?
Another example of why she fascinates me is related to snow. I hate snow. I’ve lived through 35 South Dakota winters and have only enjoyed one of them. One year, it was so nice in winter that when we had my mom’s family Christmas gathering at my parents house, our meal was grilling out on the deck. That constituted a great winter for me.
But where I see snow as a pain in the neck and as something that restricts my mobility for my friend it is something to be experienced for the first time someday. She wants to make a snowman and a snow angel. I told her that if I am anywhere near her when she experiences snow, I will help build a snowman. I didn’t say that because it would mean we were in the same location. I said it because I realized that I cannot recall the last time I thought of snow as something other than a burden. She wants to experience snow for the first time someday and I want to witness someone experiencing snow for the first time.
Then there is this little bit of conversation that took place after I explained ‘Lucky Charms’. I hope she doesn’t mind my sharing these direct quotes but I can’t help it because it is wonderful. It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. This is an exchange that came when I thought I’d tease her about the things she has learned about America from conversations with me.
Me: PS. I love how my contribution to your knowledge of America so far has been some American history that might not be that value and…food that is definitely not good for you even though it is delicious. 🙂
Her: I’m very thankful to you for the additional information on a country I happen to love 😉
First of all, I’m honest enough to leave in my own typo, I meant to say valuable. Second of all, I hate it when my attempts to tease are derailed by something quite moving.
I really hope she doesn’t mind being quoted in that way because I plan to use that same snippit of text in another post when I can gather my thoughts together more coherently. But when I read that, for one of the few times in my life I had been rendered speechless. I had to wipe away a tear. The wink emoticon not withstanding I found it to be a very sincere comment given the context of other conversations. I had to take a pause because it just reminded me that like so many of my fellow Americans, I take my life and my routine for granted. I need to do a better job of appreciating all that I have. I’m not materialistic, I don’t really want more stuff (just a bigger apartment for all the stuff I have now will be fine, thanks) but I do see my quality of life as a given and need to spend more time pondering all the hard work and sacrifice that got us to this point. As I love history anyway, this is a worthwhile endeavor indeed.
This entry has been all about discovering new things. So I’m using this song because I remember when I discovered it. I first heard this song on satellite radio back in 2008. I think the song is very catchy and the effort I undertook to obtain a copy for my own music collection was well worth it.
The song is called ‘Master Jack’ and it is from the South African band ‘Four Jacks and a Jill’ which is a great name. This was their biggest hit in the United States and it came out in 1968 topping out at 18 on the Billboard chart and at #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Alright, my name may be Casey but I am no Casey Kasem for sure. Here’s the video.