Wednesday morning, I had coffee with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a several months. 60 minutes lapsed in what seemed like the length of time appropriate for a sitcom commercial break. The conversation was lively and robust, covered any number of disparate subjects and reminded me of how refreshing it can be to engage someone, or something, that isn’t a part of my “everyday.”
For most of us, our lives are fairly routine. We study with the same group of people. We practice our profession at the same office; often spending months with the same project team for the same client. More often than not, one day begins to look like the next. Alarm, snooze, alarm, Starbucks, 4 hours of work, lunch, 4 more hours, gym, evening, bed. Weeklong ski vacations last in the mind as long as it takes for the phone to ring with an all too familiar call the first day back at the office. It is all too easy to forget that every once in awhile, you just have to shake things up.
And while new experiences, dare I say experiments, with different walking paths to work, different restaurants for Friday night dinner, or a different arrangement of books on the shelf might seem uncomfortable for those of us that love to have everything under control, random morning coffee meetings with inordinately special ex co-workers do all sorts of special things.
For me, this conversation served as a catalyst for a little intense listening, and a little more personal and professional reflection. When someone asks about your life over the last three months, it is amazing how the banal details unnoticeably fade into the background, quickly displaced by all the wonderful events you can’t wait to share. I find it incredibly rewarding to be able to share experiences, offer advice for questions asked, and be able to take a suggestion or different point of view into consideration from time to time.
I think that this is a cycle that aligns itself with the winter season. While I love the winter months for all of the right Colorado reasons, sometimes I find myself in hibernation. One day blends into the next, and the excitement for all things new and the sense of exploration dim with the diminishing sunshine. It is important to remind myself to continually seek out those things (be they people or experiences) that drive the mind into that addictive state of overdrive.
As for my friend, the lovely (and completely unnecessary?) complexities of the student visa program have sent her back to her country for a few months. And while I am sure I will keep in virtual contact through Facebook or toss the occasional text message in the direction of the Caribbean, by the time she returns it will have been just long enough to recreate that special conversational culture of rejuvenation that only an absence bordering on too long can create.
For the meantime I will say this; “Thanks for the sunshine.”