“Strangers are friends you have yet to meet”
A question I get asked frequently (a FAQ – hmm, perhaps I need a post called that), is how am I getting to know people in a new area? In other words, “How do you meet people”?
Moving here happened relatively fast. My house sold the first week in October and I was here in Maine by the end of November. I was so busy selling the house, selling furniture, having a yard sale, prepping the house for inspection, finding a place to live here, deciding what to ship to Maine (all of seven boxes), and what to store, getting the cats to the vet, etc., etc. I really didn’t have time to think about or worry about how or when I would meet new people.
- Home Sweet Home, my little carriage house apartment
And yes, for those of you that might be wondering – I did not know ANYONE here.
I consider myself a sociable person, but I am not terribly social. In other words I enjoy people and I am very comfortable being around people, but I have never felt the need to be surrounded by people in my “spare time”, and at this point in my adventure ALL of my time is “spare time”. And, I find that the older I get the more this is true for me. I am comfortable with my own company, and I can handle being alone for extended periods of time. Conversely, I enjoy meeting new people. I enjoy hearing their stories, learning what’s important to them, and what they are feel passionate about.
I came to Maine with one expectation. To feel better. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. (Read the ABOUT tab for more on that). Okay, I guess that’s really three expectations. As to how I was going to accomplish those things, I had no plan, but each day I would write in my journal “I will meet the right people at the right time, and the things I need will come into my life as they are meant to.” And then I came across this quote which I thought stated my affirmation in even more positive terms:
“We are each others angels, we meet
when it is time” Chuck Brodsky
And so I began my journey of creating situations where I could potentially meet people, and at the same time work toward my goal of feeling better.
1. I started volunteering. Within the first week of arriving, I stopped in at the Friends of Acadia offices and introduced myself and offered to help in any way needed. This is a small office of about 10 – 12 full-time people, and they do AMAZING work in supporting the park (follow my link under Blogroll). They were happy to give me several hours of office type work a week – filing, database entry, and so on. My second offer to volunteer was at the local library, a place I knew I’d be utilizing. They were looking for someone to put away books and other materials one afternoon a week. These activities have proven a wonderful psychic lift to be able to give of my self in this way AND I am beginning to get to know people through these activities.
2. I started taking a yoga class. This was something I wanted to do, working toward my general goal of feeling better. This has definitely proven to be a synchronicity as my yoga instructor is also a Zen Buddhist priest. Her philosophy has hit me where I live in numerous ways which will be explored in future blogs. In addition, I feel more focused, and sleep better since starting these classes.
3. I started a photography class. The local adult ed was offering VERY cost effective courses at the local high school. While it’s a pretty basic class, it’s nice to be out and meeting some people who also enjoy photography.
4. Meeting the neighbors. A little challenging since it’s winter and people aren’t out hanging around sitting on their porches, or working in their yards. However, I HAVE met my immediate neighbors (living in my building), and we occasionally play scrabble, or one of them accompanies me to yoga class from time to time. Taking Bam Bam for a walk is also a great way to meet the neighbors, and one of them actually gave me a CASE of canned cat food (they were feeding strays and got in trouble with their son for doing so – ??). So yes, animals are good for meeting people!! AND I have wonderful, simply wonderful landlords.
Is it always easy? No, and frankly it’s been a little harder than I thought it would be. But I think it’s different as you get older. People in my age group are more established in their patterns and routines. They have many commitments and responsibilities that require their time and attention. Am I lonely? Sometimes, but no more lonely than I before I moved here. And I feel positive about being here because I am giving myself the gift of time to reconnect with life.
Bottom line. After four and one half years of being a widow I continue to adaptto this new and different life. Part of it is learning to be comfortable with yourself, and to release yourself (and others) of expectations of how you and they “should” interact. I have learned that true friendships are often those that arrive in your life when you least expect them. And I think it’s the “not expecting” part that makes those friendships work so well.
Will I gain some “true friends” here in Maine? I hope so, time will tell. In the meantime, I am enjoying my friendship with nature, it is proving to be a wise and loyal friend, this place I love, Acadia. What I get from this physical place is more than I will ever be able to give back to it.
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”
The Dalai Lama
I would love to hear your favorite quotes or thoughts on friendship!!