A real conversation. A rarity these days it seems. The disappearing art of conversation on the Dart as mobile phones take control
Yesterday I had the best half hour of conversation for a long time. My journey into town on on the dart (our super little train) set the positive tone for my day. As I sat down, Kryptonite lock in hand, the gentleman seated opposite remarked on my lock and so begin the most fantastic exchange. We spoke of life, of politics, of travel, the current housing crisis, food waste, ecological issues, of education, human rights. It was a breakfast for the mind. Real Mindfood. As people lose themselves in the faceless, impersonal world of social media, reading the latest book on some device or another, catch up with ‘life’, or rather other peoples lives through the brilliantly created apps that are geared to portray snapshots and snippets of a world beyond our reach, here on the train I was enjoying HUMAN CONTACT, dialogue of the highest order. Funny, intelligent, engaging real life topical conversation with a perfect stranger. Only as I was getting off the train and the doors closed behind me, did I join the dots. Tom was homeless. Tom gave me something priceless. He gave me much more than mere words. From the bottom of my heart, I thank him. He gave me more than he will ever know.
At full tide down at the 40′, you never know who you’ll get into conversation with. I’m there, we’re chatting about the pull of the tide and the next thing, whilst we’re maintaining strict eye level contact as we discreetly peel off our wet togs and get dressed, I’m chatting to one of the nicest guys I’ve met for a long time. Stephen O’Reilly. Firefighter. Instantly I like him. Firefighters have to be good people and you know instantly when you meet someone if this is someone you want to chat with, or politely disengage! The 40′ attracts a very correct crowd of people, in case you are wondering.
Now don’t misunderstand me, this post is not about attraction in that sense of the word, it’s about social dynamics. Stephen is so enthusiastic about what he does in addition to his job as a firefighter, I find the more he talks, the more I want to hear. Anyhow, the conversation flows easily and he asks what I do, WORDS, I say, well it’s much more than words – it’s about how we use them. It’s about who you are. Now we’re flying and I get to find out so much more about what drives Stephen and now I understand why he drives across the city to dive into the sea and make the most of one of our most wonderful natural resources. Check out grown.ie. It’s a cool company, who stand by their ethics. I love the clarity of their brand ‘messaging’ and yes, Stephen is a great brand ambassador. The point of all this? Life is one big conversation and I just love it.
I love, truly love meeting new people. Not so much in large groups. I’m not always comfortable networking for example. I’m more of a face to face person. One to one to get to know someone more. Preferably somewhere where I can actually hear what they’re saying. Now more than ever, when we’re spending more time looking at a screen of some sort, what I’m seeing is more ‘disconnection’ and as a result a great loss at so many social levels. So much can be misconstrued by inappropriate abbreviation in texting and emails. Paper trails may be essential for many things but even over the phone, so much more of a connection can be made when you can ‘hear’ the feeling behind what is being said. And in person, that’s where relationships are at their best. Social media has its place. It is of immense value when selectively used. When, that is and not stealing my most valuable asset of all..
With just three days to go, I moved in. There really is no place like home. Tired. Exhausted. Happy. Renovations complete. Beautiful job. Fantastic team. Great Builders. As for people who caused me two years of grief during the whole building process….. It’s time to let it go…
What I’ve learnt is there are some people you cannot talk to, no matter how hard you try. No matter how hard you do the right thing. If they’re not listening, you’re wasting your time. Being a Coach and Trainer, there are very few people I come across whose ‘language’ I can’t speak. Without a doubt there are some peoplewho are easier than others and with whom conversation flows more naturally. There are few though, who are truly unpleasant, difficult and who have serious issues with … everyone and anyone they encounter. It’s only human to try and get on with others. But sometimes, you’ve just got to let it go.
The truth is how someone behaves says far more about them. So, as Christmas came and went, so did my anger and fruastration. There are too many other things I can do something about, than waste any more time on things that are past. Here’s to what comes next
I’ve been thinking about this alot in recent years as my own circumstances have been changing. Is home where you’re from, where you’re living, where you have family, where you have friends. Perhaps the question is really what represents home to you? For me, it’s a feeling of belonging, where my friends are, somewhere when I wake up in the morning I instinctively feel I am happy and know that I don’t live any place else. Home though, is where I need to have a base. Somewhere I can always return to. A place where everything is familiar, in its place. Where I have a few things around me that remind me of my journey through life. Of the people who have been part that journey, people who have made a difference to my life and who matter. People who matter still, even if they are no longer around me. It’s not about things, status, being seen in certain places. It is that sense of place. Of community. A sense of belonging. Of peace. Home is where I am happy to be and where people who spend time with me, are happy to be there too.
Funny isn’t it. All it takes is a minute to make a difference to someone’s day. For that matter, for someone else to make our day too. To go out of our way, to do something however small for someone else, with no expectation of getting something in return. Yet, the majority of the time, our heads are too busy thinking about our own issues and the day is gone, often worrying about something that really doesn’t matter at all. My quest for today and every day, is to consciously do something that does matter… not being a ‘goody two-shoes’. Just being human.