Saturday, February 11, 2017

     With every new encounter, we can learn something. I love learning. I look forward to taking what I learned and applying it to my life. When I stop learning, I will be old. When I stop listening, I will be dead. Neither has anything to do with my pulse. 

     Yesterday, we met one new couple for breakfast, a couple we met seven years ago for lunch and a couple we met a month ago at a Polo match for dinner. Each encounter taught me something, and that is why socializing can be so stimulating, particularly with people you don’t know well or with those you don’t see often. Everything is fresh, and listening to each others’ adventures and considering others’ perspectives can be enlightening. The common ingredient in each encounter was listening without interruption.

     We had never met the first couple, and we finished our meeting with hugs. We immediately bonded because each of us was interested, and we listened attentively to each other. We asked questions so that the other knew we had listened and wanted to hear more. From this couple, I recognized two people who enjoyed working together as well as playing together. Without verbalizing it, I saw that they admired and respected each others’ talent and work ethic. Neither had to brag about the other; it was evident by the look on their faces when the other spoke. It reminded me of how happy it makes me when Mr. Wonderful includes me in his conversation by looking in my eyes as well as in the others’. We listen to each other attentively even if we’ve heard the story ten times. Perhaps this wasn’t new information, but it was a reminder of the respect and class that I am so afraid we are losing in this country.

     We have visited with the second couple a few times, and this was their first visit to our new home. They were very gracious about complimenting us on our “garage with house attached.” Over lunch, we enjoyed a conversation about trips we had each taken. They told us about taking the 25-mile bike descent down the mountain in Maui. Mr. Wonderful and I didn’t do that as I was too scared. I immediately said to myself, “When we go back to Hawaii, we will definitely do that.” When they spoke about an upcoming trip to Alaska and Vancouver, I was reminded of an opportunity I have to do the same in August with a female friend. Sometimes others’ experiences are good motivators to take risks and grab once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. 

     Our dinner was great fun with a new couple we met by chance at a Polo Match. We discovered that day that the husband and I had been students at the University of Michigan the same four years. Last night, they shared information about their Indian culture, and they told us about cultural groups they have joined here which have stimulated them and given them purpose. There is nothing more motivating to me than to have someone share his or her passion with me when it’s a passion I share. We ended the evening with the husband sharing his family story about “the alcohol tree.” He said that under the “alcohol tree” there is a myna bird, a parrot, a lion and a pig. With the first drink, the myna bird sings its beautiful song—-we feel wonderful and we share our lovely melodies. With the second drink, we become parrots—babbling loudly about nothing. With the third drink, we become aggressive and argumentative like the lion—pouncing on our prey. Finally, with subsequent drinks we become pigs lying in the muddy trough. Think about the drinkers you know, social or otherwise, I would bet they illustrate this story. 


      I love learning. I love being reminded of things I should remember about how to treat others and what experiences not to miss. I love applying what I’ve learned to my daily life. Today, I will think about what opportunities are facing me and ask myself whether I have the courage to take advantage of them. I will certainly sing like a myna bird, and I will always listen to Mr. Wonderful’s stories, no matter how many times he tells them.