If you asked me who my people are, I’d likely rattle off a list of admirable qualities. Things like fun, trustworthy, honest, smart, accepting, and loyal would certainly be on this list. Maybe I’d add on a couple more things specific to interests of mine. It would be a list completely generated by my mind – my quick to work overtime mind.
In actuality, the minute I stop thinking about where or how to find my people, my people find me – at work, at play, after a presentation, even during mundane chores of daily life. The reality of who they are is completely different from my idea about who I think they are, or worse, who I think they should be. They pop into my life when I am least expecting it and in ways that I’d never anticipate, reflecting back to me who I am in that moment or time of life. Some stick around for a long time, others for a memorable interaction as our paths cross.
While walking on the beach in NC yesterday I took a quick look around to see who was near. After deciding I was on an isolated stretch of beach where no one was remotely close to me or in visual proximity, I broke out dancing to a favorite song on my playlist. It was so joyful, as dancing always is for me.
I could see my shadow dancing, I was feeling the sun, I was splashing at the very edge of the water, I was singing out loud, and mostly, I was engaged in a moment of absolute presence. As I spun a bit (always one of my dance moves), I realized two girls are running in my direction. I stop, feeling embarrassed to be caught, whatever that means, and start walking again, assuming that they are heading for the water. Very quickly I realize they are not running for the water, they are running towards me – directly at me.
They approach talking quickly and excitedly saying they came to dance with me. In a jumble they spill the story that they are high school sophomores on spring break and that ‘people are really mean here’ and I seem nice, so they want to dance with me.
Caught completely off guard, a little sad for their experience, and yet also delighted, I put on the same song (mmm mmm yeah yeah) pull out my ear buds, turn on the speaker and the three of us began dancing. Before I know it, three more of their friends join and together we dance madly for about 10 minutes with full abandon, off key singing, and big smiles.
It takes practice to be able to step back and see these dynamics at play. In my case, it took someone to else to point it out before I could shift my perspective. I had been sharing a moment of worry about how I’ll find my people in all my moving around when she laughed, said “you just don’t get it” and pointed out to me that I was telling her I don’t know how I’ll find my people while sharing a story in which people are literally running at me to interact. Duh!
Who are the people that are finding you? What do these people reflect back to you about who, and how you are? What might you be learning about who your people are?
With their permission to use the picture (they didn’t know I took at the time), a big hug and thank you to Paige, Claire, Josie, Hannah, and Gigi. You made my day and you are definitely my people!
PS…We ran into each other again today and as I get to know them a bit, I only like, admire and appreciate these wonderful young women more.