I made a New Year's resolution to say yes to more things, to step out of my comfort zone a little more often. If I'm hesitant about doing something (and it’s not for a really good reason), I now make an effort to do it anyway. One of the things it's helping me get over is my shyness about introducing myself to strangers. I know, I know... me, an introvert? I'm so outgoing, yes, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather wait for someone to start a conversation with me instead of the other way around. (It's funny though, because when I was little, my older sister said she’d take me for walks and all I did was say hello to strangers.) Anyway...
My brother and his wife and I were going to have dinner at our favorite Melbourne FL restaurant. Amici's opened their new Chef's Table and we love sitting at the open kitchen bar watching Dave, Paul, and Katie cook, and chit-chatting with everyone who's become more like family than restaurant staff. The place was packed but they’d saved three seats for us. Normally I would have picked the middle one, but I made myself choose the one next to a stranger. I introduced myself, and soon we were talking up a storm. It turned out that my new dinner friend Matt and his partner Tim were getting married, and I said "Hey lemme know if you need a photographer..." I didn't even have a business card to hand out--Yargh, I need to fix that!--but it didn't matter. Matt looked at Tim and said, “Wouldn’t she be so fun?” So Tim gave me their details and the rest got worked out from there.
Their wedding was lovely. Beachside, with great people (including a rowdy-fun group of Matt's flight attendant friends), a chocolate fountain (who doesn't love that?) and delicious red velvet thank you cupcakes made by Maria of the Amici's Bakery (of course!).
What I find so ironic about this post is that I was writing the draft on the plane ride back to Ohio, not really paying any attention to my seat mate, an elderly gentleman who was penciling notes into a music score. When we landed I finally said hello and asked him about it. Turns out he used to be a conductor in New York, is now "retired" (yet playing drums in three different bands) and was visiting his daughter in Columbus. We talked about music and art in a fast 10 minutes while people were deplaning... about learning new things throughout your entire life, being curious, keeping up your interests. What an amazing, wonderful man! I only wish I'd said hello when we first boarded, but that's ok, I got his email address and hope that we'll stay in touch.
My point? Say hello! Better yet, say hello and ask a few questions. You never know what interesting people you'll meet, where life could take you, or even whose day you might be changing by simply starting a conversation.
Who will you say hello to today?