since starting this blog and life project, i have found myself paying more attention to the everyday lessons life continues to offer me. i didn’t realize that i could learn so much about myself and who i want to be from people watching, smiling at strangers, and checking my bank account. i had no idea that starting this blog would also mean confronting parts about myself that i knew could be better as well as learning that i had plenty of room for growth and change. as i continue on with my new year’s resolution, i have began seeking out opportunities for meaningful experiences. most of the time they present themselves to me in unexpected ways. thankfully, i am always ready to listen, and more importantly, act.
after three months of living in new york, i have adjusted to the fast paced lifestyle and even learned how to navigate the subways. but it was only after a friend visited that i realized that somewhere along the way i had lost my friendliness and openness to strangers. of course part of the reason for my doing so is related to safety, but i also know that part of this comes from my newly learned self-focus. new york has taught me to focus on my destination and only worry about getting there; which can mean a lot of things–both positive and negative. when my small-town wyoming friend came to visit, i was humbled by her genuine friendliness and ability to make friends out of strangers. the entire weekend i watched her introduce herself to the hotel housekeepers, make little girls on the subway feel pretty in their dresses, and befriend random strangers and lost tourists. the entire weekend, i couldn’t help but think that i wanted to be more like that.
more importantly however, i realized that nothing was preventing me from doing so.
today was meaningful because i took advantage of opportunities to make friends out of strangers.
today i put a blanket, a bottle of frozen water, and my kindle in my bag and went to central park…it was much too beautiful of a day to spend indoors. i didn’t go out with the intention of talking to every stranger that came up or purposely trying to make new friends, instead, i told myself that i would do it the next time the opportunity presented itself to me. in the middle of basically drowning in my own sweat, i looked up and saw a girl passing by me. i smiled.
she later said that that was her invitation.
after coming up to me and asking if she could show me her jewelry, i honestly shared that i did not bring any money with me to the park (i really didn’t) and that i truly did not have any money to spend, but that i would be happy to look at her work. i thought my inability to pay or buy any of her art would deter her from showing it to me, but she pulled it out anyways. the jewelry was beautiful. and i have a weakness when it comes to homemade things–especially jewelry. i looked over every piece and commented on what i liked about her work and the combination of colors she used. eventually, we had a conversation.
she told me where she was from and what she hoped to do. she told me about her family and her trip to new york city. she told me about her brother and growing up in a different country. she told me that she decided to come up to me because “i looked like someone who would take the time to look at her jewelry.”
i decided right there and then that that was the kind of person i want to be.
we continued to talk and she asked me if i made anything, and i told her about my blog. there was something strange and amazing about sharing my life project with a complete stranger. i asked her if i could share this experience on my blog and she happily agreed. we ended up talking for a while longer and before she left, she thanked me. she said that new york could be a lonely place when you don’t know anyone and that it was nice just to have someone (besides her brother) to talk to. she said that even though she was looking to sell her jewelry, she also realized that she was looking for someone to talk to.
i told her that she and our conversation made my day.
and it really, truly did.
what is the name of your new friend?