An old friend calls – you haven’t spoken in a while – and then… that age-old question: “So, what’s new?” Of course they want to hear the good stuff and we want to tell. We’re quick to acknowledge our big wins and changes; like a promotion, or a new client or job, a new home or car, a child who graduates, gets married or finds a job. I suppose it’s only natural to start with the BIG ones, but what if there are no big ones?
A friend from my past called me yesterday. After we exchanged the preliminary greetings, determined that we were both in good health and that things were generally ‘fine’, I asked, “What’s new and exciting in your life”? (a slight tweak to that ‘age-old’ question.) Apparently the word ‘exciting’ was the conversation stopper. It was very quiet on his end. Then, slowly and quietly – almost ashamedly, he said, “Nothing, really. Nothing. Everything’s about the same.” As if ‘the same’ was a bad thing. As if things had to be different in order to be exciting. As if life couldn’t be considered exciting if the ‘wins’ were small and life wasn’t full of big changes. Hmmm
RE-FRAME time (think political spin doctor twisting problems into wins). So, to punctuate the magnificent of the sameness of his life, I started asking questions. “How are those adorable grandkids of yours?” Turns out they are still the light of his life and you could hear him smile as he told me about the little things they’d said and done that brought him such joy. We moved from there to, “Been to the park with Tasha (his dog) lately?” Tasha is still romping like a puppy, living, loving and licking! Gotta say there was love in his voice. “And what about that vegetable garden? You keeping up with that?” The harvest had been bountiful and some of it was on the Thanksgiving table! From there he opened up and the mundane began to shine as magnificent. The sun, he told me, was shining and warm (even though it was 38 degrees outside), the snow melted off his walk so he didn’t have to shovel – though happily he bragged that he still could. I remembered that old blue letterman’s jacket of his and he laughed with pure glee when he told me that he pulled it out of a box in the garage and wore it last week. It was tight, but he closed it and reveled in the memories. “Read any good books lately?” I asked. He just finished reading Ready Player One and loved it. I read it too and felt the same. “Spielberg is making it into a movie,” I told him, and we excitedly made plans to go see it together.
We talked for a glorious 56 minutes last night. My new car was kinda boring compared to the story about dropping my cell phone in the toilet! It truly was the little things – and there were sooo many of them – that were exciting and funny and worthy of sharing. Yup, those little things made our conversation very BIG indeed.