Back To The Future
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Ingrid Michaelson. One of my favorite tracks happens to be Maybe (Go listen. I’ll wait). Something about its poppy cheerfulness just makes me smile like crazy, not to mention the uber whimsical video (and I’m not just saying that because I would wear the heck out of that dress, sans leather belt-ish thing, natch). Last week, I happened to have been told two stories that reminded me of this song. Two contrasting stories from individuals who had people boomerang back into their lives after prolonged absences – eight and 30 years, respectively. One holds the promise of a new beginning and the other represents the tying up of loose strings inherent in indisputable endings.
Photo by Luis Beltran
Both stories have started my mental wheels turning (but really, what doesn’t?), namely thinking about the impressions we make and the impressions others leave on us. How many thousands of people pass through our lives – friends, family, lovers, colleagues, classmates, teachers, doctors, cab drivers, waiters, team mates, fellow commuters – and how very few of them imprint themselves indelibly on us?
We can have a lifetime of fulfilling relationships and interactions with caring, supportive, interesting people. Folks who we’ll ask to be in our wedding parties, who we’ll invite over to watch the Super Bowl, or wish a happy birthday to on Facebook or offer to grab coffee with should they happen to be in town for a conference. We like them, we get along with them, think or speak of them in a positive light if their name comes up, but we wouldn’t reach out to them with our one phone call from lock-up, wouldn’t move heaven and earth to track them down if we learned we had six months to live, don’t earmark certain thoughts and feelings as something we know only they would understand 100%. And yet, for a select few others (if we’re lucky), we would do these things. What separates these individuals from the rest? Think of it as slowly sweeping a metal detector over your emotional history. Nothing, nothing, nothing and then you just hit a spot where it starts beeping like crazy and you know there’s something there. You might not know exactly what (and it’s your choice whether to dig down to find out), but man, it’s something.
I submit that it has to do with believing that someone is seeing/responding to the person you truly believe yourself to be. There is something terrifying, exhilarating, elementally comforting and unforgettably compelling about feeling known, about feeling seen and heard and understood. You realize that this, this is what it’s all about. Even if it’s just a brief flash in time, it leaves its mark. One that can last eight years, 30 years, a lifetime*. One that will always cause the teeniest tiniest part of you to wonder if maybe, in the future, it’s gonna come back around**.
*If you can pinpoint these people and these experiences, I emphatically urge you not to wait decades (or until the sky is falling) to reach out to reconnect with these folks.
** Again, quit with the wondering and make it happen. Now.