I remember reflecting on my college experience some months after graduation and coming to the profound realization that the past four years had probably been the only time in my life I would have the benefit of being surrounded by hundreds of my peers. Perhaps even more profound, not only were they my peers, but we were all basically in this thing together. Most of us were away from home for the first time. The majority of us lived in the same residence halls, ate in the same dining hall, attended many of the same classes. Connecting was easy. You could talk about the crazy old heating system that pinged and bumped and thumped all night. You could go on about the amazing stuffed shells/grilled cheese/lemon meringue pie/soft serve ice cream. You could dream up reasons as to why that one professor wore turtlenecks literally all the time.
Outside of this bubble, I realized quickly you have to work a little harder. You have to search around for those common denominators. Accepting the fact that sometimes they just don’t exist, relishing the moments in which they do, and savoring those times when things just come together.
Several weeks ago over happy hour at a bar in our neighborhood the manager asked my husband and I if we would like to come to an event on the 15th to try out some items on their new menu. We marked our calendars and showed up last night, having no idea what to expect. What we found ourselves in the midst of was an “eat and tweet” event, where we were treated to small plates of selected appetizers, entrees and a dessert (the details of which can be found in my Twitter feed, obviously).
We chose seats at a table with another couple. Within a few minutes of chatting, it was clear that they belonged to the same local facebook group for craft beer lovers as my husband. Then, I noticed that right at the top of my Twitter feed, someone I follow was tweeting from the same event. I had a chance to meet her at the end of the evening. Those two things alone would have made it a near magical night of connections, but there was more. One of the people who works in the office space right across from the restaurant, stopped by to introduce himself. I walk by their office, most of which is large windows, twice a day on my way to and from work. We laughed at the coincidence of being on the same side of the glass. Today I waved as I walked by.
It’s these experiences that keep us working towards connections. That keep us telling our stories and listening to other’s. Encourage us towards bringing the virtual into reality. Towards taking a moment to introduce ourselves.
And truly, when you really think about it, aren’t the rewards sweeter, perhaps more magical somehow when they aren’t so easy to come by?