What’s next for 2014? How about a little civility? Our world is so connected; so digital; so electronic; we lose sight of the human connections that make our lives complete.
It is so incredibly easy to write an e-mail and hit ‘send;’ or text someone a question, that we often never make that human connection. Remember the days when you’d phone someone and ask, “How are you doing?” It seems no one really cares how the other person is doing these days. Each of us is so tied up with whatever the deadline of the moment is that we are just happy to get a reply email from the person we reached within a day or so.
What could be happening is that we forget how to talk to each other. When we are in the same room together eye-to-eye and face-to-face, we have no patience; we react too quickly we fail to listen.
I saw a TV spot from Values.com that expresses the need for civility. While the message is that a little kindness goes a long way, what we also need to do is get in the room with people more often and just listen. Have a conversation that goes back and forth; try not to interrupt while the other person – or people – are trying to make their points. Share your thoughts; ask questions when you don’t understand and for heaven’s sake, be civil.
When you can have an actual conversation with a person or a group of people and leave the room with a smile and some satisfaction that something got accomplished, you have renewed the human connections needed to get from one day to the next.
Among the goals you set for 2014, consider making a phone call to a business associate, friend or family member at least once a week – just to ask, “how are you doing?” Show appreciation; say “thank you;” and when someone thanks YOU – reply with, “you’re welcome.” Better yet – try “my pleasure.” And say it with a smile.
Half-empty, half full – there are really only two ways to look at things when life throws you curve balls. After a week that involved a few roller coasters, I am now on the other side realizing that I am mainly one of those half-full kind of gals.
We had a great dinner with neighbors Friday night that changed my perspective a bit. We had socialized with them numerous times several years ago and then stopped hanging out with them. The reasons don’t matter now. What’s important is first, my husband and the other husband organized the evening. That in itself was reason to enjoy the evening. I didn’t have to do the ‘heavy’ lifting. It seems I always take the reins on planning things – because I like to – but it is a lot of work.
The evening started out on a great note. Doug and I walked over to their house where their car was warming up in the driveway; our friends were not in the car. Had we been a minute earlier, we were going to jump in the back seat and give them quite a scare – but in a hysterical way. Immediately I remembered how I enjoy laughing with that couple.
For two-and-a-half hours we enjoyed sushi, stories about how each couple met, our children and their ups and downs and our lives in general. We ended up back at their house for coffee. For a dinner I thought would take no longer than two hours, we enjoyed a full evening of conversation and camaraderie.
In November, I spent a girl’s weekend with two women I met nearly 30 years ago. It was as if we had never been apart. We’re having dinner next weekend with friends we met in 1989. I feel as though that evening will be filled with laughter and reminiscing.
With age, we gain perspective, understanding and well, a mellower approach to things that happen in our lives. As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ll add to that remember why you love the small stuff and spend more time enjoying each moment in time.
You know the saying, “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten?” This is so true. We learn the alphabet; how to count; we learn ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Parents reinforce those lessons at home (hopefully). There is a lost art: writing ‘thank you’ notes. There is a wonderful CBS segment on writing ‘thank yous.’ Spend a few minutes and watch the segment – it will get you thinking – remembering HOW to write ‘thank yous’ and perhaps inspire you to pick up a pen (remember those) every now and then.
In the snail mail today, we received thank you notes from our nephews and niece for the holiday gifts we shared in December. Oh, the smile on my face after I read these precious words. I hope you enjoy them as well.
Do you respect other people and then expect a least a little respect back? I don’t think that’s too much to expect today, but apparently, I’m wrong. I was listening to NJ 101.5’s Dennis and Judi show on the ride back from a client in Ocean County as I usually do. (Driving through the Pinelands gets a little monotonous and counting the number of dead animals along the side of the road just doesn’t do it for me.)
The question and discussion of the hour was “Have you ever gone off on a police officer?” I know it happens, but I could not believe the number of people who admitted to freaking out on a police officer. I always find it amusing when you see one of the police reality shows when the obviously belligerent or drunk person suddenly realizes he or she is in a heap of trouble and gets polite by calling the officer ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am.’ Um, it’s too late, pal.
A couple of summers ago, we were vacationing in New Hampshire. We’d gone out after dark for ice cream at our favorite dairy, Sandwich Creamery; which is way off the beaten path. (Isn’t everything in New Hampshire?). My husband was driving my brother’s minivan and I think six or seven of us were stuffed in the van. Well, Doug drove through the main part of Moultonborough a little too fast and a police officer tucked on the side of the road hit his lights and pulled behind us in seconds. Well, my sweet mom, who I guess lost her senses for a split second, was a bit annoyed we were getting pulled over. She opens the minivan’s sliding door to get out. We all yelled “Stay in the car!” Or words to that effect. We scared the wits out of her. She couldn’t understand why she had to stay in the van. Meantime, Doug got off with a warning – I can only attribute it to goodwill tourism AND that Doug was genuinely polite; fully admitted he’d gone too fast through Moultonborough and would never – ever do it again.
Police have a tough job. They serve us well. Respect is a given.