I had coffee with a friend yesterday. In fact, though our friendship started over a cup of coffee, we haven't repeated the occasion since then. A long time. Years, actually.
Snippets of cocktail party conversation, texts and emails and Facebook posts are more of what fast-paced life is like these days. Although I can pull off great cocktail party banter, I am at heart a deeply shy person, truly an introvert. I recently joked that my slogan should be, "everywhere on social media, nowhere in real life." To get my schedule and someone else's in alignment to sit down together? In person? Now, that's a challenge.
What struck me was how much both of us have changed in the years since that first cup of coffee. Jobs, projects, and volunteer commitments are different. Our families have grown or grown up. Our experience in things we care about has deepened. Our career courses have changed or are on the verge of changing.
In spite of all that the conversation was deeply gratifying because both of us were able to allow for that change. We didn't feel the need to define the conversation or the friendship by what someone used to be.
It's far easier to let relationships get stuck than to allow people to evolve in unexpected ways. It's easier to think "but I know who you are" and "don't confuse me so something that doesn't fit my expectation". People do it all the time. It's easier, but it disminishes the relationship.
Many of the completely fruitless conversations we have in Columbia happen because people have gotten stuck: stuck in the way things used to be, and the way people used to be. It's easy to do. But it diminishes us as a community. This weekend you can come to Wine in the Woods and see people celebrating Columbia in their traditional, "Old Columbia" fashion--but you can also stop by the Inner Arbor Trust booth and talk about the Chrysalis and exciting plans ahead for Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods.
Let's have some great conversations, Columbia