Its Time To Change Your Umbrella

I am who I want to be. 

At least I start with that thought at this time of year. I usually set aside some time at this time of the year to reflect on whether I behave in a way that is consistent with who I want to be. This year I decided that I wished to be more comfortable with strangers. Not in your face friendly but just able to strike up a conversation and enjoy it.

I only make a single resolution each year. It is a degree of change; I think I can actually be successfull at keeping. 

I’m surrounded by more strangers than friends, so there is no lack of opportunities. All I need is courage. An I-can-do-this attitude.

Connecting with strangers can best be seen on the TV show “Hello, Goodbye.” A therapist meets folks who are either coming or going from a big city airport. Obviously, there is a team that does some pre-screening. But eventually, the person has to walk up to the travellers, get the cameras rolling, soundcheck and then engage these strangers in telling their stories. It is incredible how he draws the stories out. It isn’t luck. It is a learned approach that I know I can learn. The critical element of success in talking with strangers is to be genuinely interested in their stories.

I can do that, but it takes time and above all, practice with reflection to continually improve.

Resolutions can be big or small, life adjusting to life-changing. The most important thing as an older adult is to keep refining yourself, however slight.

That’s why umbrellas are essential to this particular blog. Umbrellas reflect how we see ourselves, our personality, practical, loud, private, artsy, simple, gaudy. Luckily we aren’t only one personality. Most of us have quieter, lower-profile personality traits too.

If you are reluctant to make resolutions or afraid of failure, try this for your next birthday. Ask those who love you and know you to buy you a new umbrella. And ask for the loudest, most colourful umbrella that they think reflects who you really are.

The last step – use it until it becomes your new favourite umbrella.

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this blog possible.

Glenn Walmsley