Photo: Gerard Fritz
I had a book signing at my cancer center last week, and no one showed up. I could have left extremely disappointed, but I didn’t. I enjoyed the time I had there chatting with the social worker. And I left more enriched because of it.
Later in the week, I had a lunch date with a former co-worker. I hadn’t seen her in probably three months or longer. We picked right up where we left off and had a great conversation. I left there extremely encouraged.
These encounters reminded me we need people in our lives. A popular Mandisa song says, “We all bleed the same. We’re more beautiful when we come together.” It’s about the humanity that unites each and every one of us.
I recently heard someone say, “I’m an extroverted introvert or an introverted extrovert. I love people, but I need downtime to recharge.”
I find myself in that same boat. I used to be a shy kid. I wouldn’t look people in the eye and certainly wouldn’t initiate a conversation. After seeing a television program about overcoming shyness, which stressed the importance of looking people in the eye, I made myself start to do that. It was hard and scary at first, but over time, it really helped. To the point that today I’m no longer afraid of people. (Of course, it helps that I have a few decades of life under my belt.)
These days, I realize the importance of those around me. And I’m working at making them feel valued, just as I want to feel valued. The truth is they are valued — and I want them to know it. I’m enjoying spending time with people. Despite that enjoyment, I do need downtime away from people to recharge. And when I get that, I have more to give to those I encounter. It’s important to have balance.
I don’t think it was a mistake that no one showed up at my book signing. I think maybe that social worker and I needed that one-on-one connection.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"