Be There for Nearest, Dearest, Friends and the Odd Stranger
A couple of Make the Rest of Your Life the Best strategies that I often talk about are “use it or lose it” and “look for opportunities to improve on your previous best.”
These mostly get taken up doing things that stretch and develop you mentally or physically, and with outcomes that can make you more talented and creative, daring and competitive or caring and altruistic.
A less obvious opportunity is connecting with people. May is providing several reminders.
Being there for a Celebration
Of course there was no way I would have missed this but that didn’t stop me when the invitation arrived from having a few “knee jerk” worries. You know the sort of thing …meeting people not seen in ages or people you just don’t know. The sort of lightweight concerns that can all too easily grow and become reasons for not doing something.
Of course we had a great time. Big hugs on arrival. Being sought out and sharing memories with lovely people from way back. Seeing Jack proudly show to all the portrait “my little brother painted” (an example of my late developing creativity and daring.) And hearing some days later how especially pleased my nephew had been to see me again.
Being there to Remember a Friend
Wednesday 4th provided a contrasting celebration, the funeral of my pal Graham who died of cancer.
We met in business 30 years ago, and because we mirrored each others calm, listening conversational manner we empathised easily. Overtime this developed into a firm friendship – well consolidated by a weekly game of badly played golf.
Whether it was through empathy or the mutual despair of awful golf we trusted each other’s counsel and Graham sought mine when struggling with a crisis in his personal life. He appreciated and benefited from my help, something he would remember when we spoke just a month before he died.
The celebration was held in Plymouth. Which meant a long drive, and an over-night hotel stay, issues that could have developed into obstacles if allowed, but they didn’t. As it happened, two former colleagues provided great evening company as well as a very welcome lift.
O.K. the in-car conversation between two severe petrol heads needed decoding to allow me in. And possible over-dependency on the Sat-Nav may have led to the long and winding tour we had of Wiltshire villages. But it reminded me of the need to be gracious and appreciative of friends and their good intentions.
Being there for the Nearest and Dearest
Friday 6th and this meant a regular meet-up after-school with two Grandsons. It’s a much anticipated and enjoyed formula of DVD, Pepsi Cola, plenty of biscuits and Ron’s subsequent sugar high! This week I stepped up the entertainment value when I selected the DVD’s Theatre version. I realised afterwards this is the unedited version with original “adult” language.
The lads thought it hysterical, and we’ve etched even deeper the recall level of this favourite ritual.
Daughter Tina likewise will remember well her post-surgery over-night stay and my visit. In time she’ll see the funny side of me leaning on the entrance door buzzer and upsetting the nursing staff. And I know she’ll appreciate my forbearance when my ex-wife unexpectedly arrived.
Monday 9th and a message to say Grand-daughter and Post-Grad trainee teacher Holly was being admitted, tearfully, for urgent surgery in Leicester, and could I be “on standby.” I was soon on the road providing 6 hours of good natured distracting company. I even shared the “nil by mouth” status as we waited for a decision, which was eventually to go home and return the next day.
Being there for a Stranger
Tuesday 11th and Lynda and I had arrived, rain-soaked, for my GP appointment (Yes the NHS features prominently this month but I’m glad to say we’re all doing fine) Anyway, I invited Lynda into the fairly quiet waiting room to dry off and read an old magazine.
A seemingly oldish, and agitated lady was sitting in the corner talking to herself, out loud and randomly. “Who you seeing? she called out to no-one in particular. No-one in particular kept quiet!
Blondie’s “Sunday Girl” played on the radio, and she stood and began to sing and dance. You could see more clearly a face and body ravaged possibly by more than age alone. Throughout the waiting room eyes remained fixed on magazines.
“I don’t want to be here” she shouted out. Faces hid behind magazines!
“Why’s that?” I asked. Looking startled she turned to me, paused and replied. “He asks me questions.” “They find things wrong with me.”
“Why not ask him how he is, and keep him talking?” I joked.
“That’s a good idea” she laughed. “Thanks. I’ll do that.”
I was called in. 10 minutes later I came out. “Right your turn now. Don’t forget…keep him talking.”
She smiled and walked in. I hope she remembers talking with us.
I’m enjoying May a lot. It’s because I’ve been connecting with people much more than in a long time. May is reminding me that this connection with others means more to them than we often realise. That we don’t do it enough and when we do we’re actually quite good at it, and it’s hugely satisfying.
May is reminding me about one of the less obvious but so very worthwhile life skills we have ….and to use it or lose it!
For more thoughts and advice on making the rest of your life the best visit www.onwego.co.uk