I recently wrote about the CFR and the sense of community amongst strangers and friends alike. Going up and down the aisles of livestock is one of my favourite parts of Farmfair, the celebration of our rural industry that coincides with the rodeo. Not just because the cattle are so fluffy and cute.
I also enviously watch the gatherings between farmhands and ranch hands and family, sitting casually in their stall in poop stained jeans and dusty kerchiefs, all with smiles and travel mugs that may be hiding the liquid source of some geniality. Just so damn comfortable with each other.
Recently, I attended a panel that brought military spouses from across Canada into one location. I went in hopes of sharing some of my talents and skills to help other families. While my fervent wishes to help may have been lost in the bureaucratic processes of the day, I found a sense of belonging with all these people who have so often been in the same situations as I often find myself.
I had hoped to meet cool people. I set myself up for success with little calling cards that I could share with my name and email address on them. I’m pretty sure every spouse that I spoke with for longer than five minutes received one.
Three weeks later, and not a single email notification from any of the spouses I felt I connected with.
Oh, the self-doubt! It came sleeting in like only a cold November downpour can. I do have a lot of questionable qualities – I’m obviously an enthusiastic over-achiever and no one like a know-it-all. Did I miss rolled eyes behind my back all weekend? I know I haven’t suffered enough in my role as military spouse with no postings and no war wounds and living in the same city as my family. Maybe I didn’t fit in. Maybe no one liked me. I better eat some worms.
Everyone does this at some point in life. Maybe some do it regularly. Sit at home and wait for your friend to call. Feel lonely and unloved to someone else pings you or rings you or pops in for a visit. You’re allowed to wade in self-pity a little too. But no one’s got time for swimming in that hole. Get out! Shake yourself off!
I let my geek flag fly and emailed a few of the women who I remembered clearly. And five of them got back to me! In a few brief sentences we’ve reconnected with similar thoughts on the panel and our weekend. They’ve also been just as caught up in life as I have. I’m so glad I made their email ding.
Would it be self-serving to ask if my email made their day? What if I qualify that their reply made mine? Do you wait for friends to call or are you an instigator too?