From Where I Sit – Embrace or Withdraw

One of the benefits of coordinating Babas and Borshch Ukrainian Festival the last couple years has been the personal satisfaction of facing a challenge head-on and succeeding. Regular Voice readers may remember that in January 2013 I pitched the idea of a brand new festival and 227 days later saw it come to fruition. It was well received, well attended, and has been followed up by an improved and equally successful year two. Plans for year three are humming along.

That said; one of the other pleasures of this undertaking has been the people I’ve met. By and large they’ve been talented, passionate, accomplished, and generous in sharing their gifts. They either agreed to be part of the festival in some capacity or referred me to someone else who could help.

In one such example I first spoke to a female event planner from Edmonton on the phone. She agreed to accompany me to a wholesale she deals with so I could buy d├ęcor pieces at a better price. In that short exchange we hit it off and voiced the desire to get together again.

Then we acted on what could have been simply the usual superficial hollow talk people often engage in. We made plans. I introduced B to the salon where I get my nails done. Getting a mani-pedi guarantees at least a couple of hours of pampering and plenty of time to talk. Following that treat up with an incredible extended lunch at Tirimasu Bistro lightens my mood for hours after.

It always amazes me how empowering and soul affirming a conversation with a kindred spirit can be. And you don’t need the long-term history of having known a person since kindergarten to make that connection. You don’t need to communicate daily. You don’t need to vacation together.

What works in the life of this busy person is being committed to nurturing the relationship, carving out time that works for both of us, being fully present and enjoying every minute, and then going back to my messy real life. NASA would have been proud of what it took to plan our outing this past week but we persevered and did it.

Despite me being about ten years older than B, we connect and commiserate on many topics. I’m past the critical child-rearing years but have grandsons. We both understand the challenges of being part of the ?sandwich? generation. We share the knowledge thjt we’re both round pegs who don’t fit into the square holes of the nine to five traditional workplace. We understand the thrill and terror of finding the next gig. While she considers me her mentor, I’m learning from her as well. We support each other in whatever our individual lives have thrown us. We recognize the strength (and vulnerability) in the other.

People come and go in our lives. It’s up to us to embrace those who enrich our lives and withdraw from those who damage it, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..

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