Trading Shovels for Shades

Wet snow and even rain has been pouring down but the sun is beaming so brightly once again. Meatball (the dog) spent time with us just recently on one of the past snow storm days. Taking a walk in the snow was so refreshing. It is double the fun with a furry companion by my side, but taking a picture with Meatball is next to impossible. An automatic response to turn his head in the opposite way naturally kicks in as he notices a phone being pulled out. Just give me one smile..! What I really wanted to capture was the thick frozen white beard he acquired from continuously sticking his head in snow piles. We managed to get one after returning home, by then it looked like his beard had melted away.

At the tennis court we met another friendly dog owner with his dogs Bailey and Whiskey. He claimed that he doesn’t drink haha. We probably spent half an hour talking while watching the dogs run after each other. Chatting with the man made me reflect on experiences of a personal shift in relating to others. Some friends who have come to know me after high school point out outgoing and extroverted characteristics. In retrospect, I have always been more introverted and am usually surprised when noted otherwise. In the past little while I find it easier skipping between I and E depending on the social situation. I don’t know why it is surprising to myself that I notice it getting easier opening up to others without the nerves that used to hold me back. It is one thing to see change in others, but I guess small changes are harder to spot in ourselves. Though non-verbal communication has been a forte to the timid younger version of me, verbal communication has been a continual learning experience. Conversing with a total stranger did not always come natural. Like trial and error or test runs, it takes courage and practice. I hope that introverts can relate with me on this in some shape or form.

Only about two years ago I began greeting hello to people when taking walks in the neighbourhood I grew up in — something that would make my dad tense with fear for my personal safety, something I wish more people would be open to. Nevertheless, it’s amazing and so lovely how a small comment or conversation starter can change the “stranger status” to a friendly approachable one in most cases. Or how a simple “hello” can invoke a smile on a straight serious expression.

It’s small reflective moments like this that make me look back on some of the changes and objectives set from previous new year goals which have made striking up conversations with strangers more second-nature. Because after all, we all have an inner desire to connect with others as humans. Speak up more for yourself and others, check. Be more blunt, check. More bold, check. Be a little more fearless, a work in progress.

I am curious, have you experienced changes in the way you relate to others?

Happy Monday! The week is over and it is back to class for me. Some of the best parts of study sessions during the week were break-time walks and bundling up for a cold smoothie.

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