A few weeks ago I was sitting on the train heading into Austin for the Texas Conference for Women. I spent the hour ride visiting with my new friends, the veteran train riders, and also reflecting on last year’s conference.
Last year, I was honored to interview Carla Birnberg, a local author and blogger. She and I had a 15 minute time slot, but she gave me nearly an hour of her time, and she’s so easy to connect with, that hour flew by.
She’s one of those people that you’re aware have accomplished things, but she’s so relatable, you feel like she’s right in the trenches with you, trying to figure out all the same things as you, and you have to remind yourself that, no, she’s already got all this stuff figured out, she’s just making herself relatable because she's a nice person.
While our interview was a nice, long one, with tons of great information (you can read the full interview here), I didn’t realize the impact she’d had on me until I was sitting on the train reflecting back on our time together.
I realized that I’d thought about Carla several times throughout the year as I got overwhelmed with projects and “couldn’t fit in exercise.”
WWCD?, I’d think to myself.
She’d tell me that I should do 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there, and stop thinking that if I couldn’t fit in a half-hour block, that it couldn’t happen at all.
I decided to text Carla that morning on the train, just to give her a quick “thanks again” for the amazing interview last year. I hesitated before I hit send because I didn’t want her to be all, “Who is this??” which is one of my worst fears in life, and is the reason I almost always avoid familiar people I see in the grocery store or around town, because the thought of saying, “Ohmygoodness, hiiiii!,” and them squishing their eyebrows together and then looking over their shoulder with a question mark all over their face to see if I’m talking to someone behind them paralyzes me.
Strangely, I have no problems making friends with perfect strangers in the store.
I bond with the random tall guy in the freezer section that I have to ask for help in reaching the waffles way up top, and I need to know whether the check-out lady is having a boy or a girl, and when she’s due, and does she have a name picked out, yet.
I smile and laugh and chat and compliment the strangers-who-are-now-my-friends, because I like being nice to people, and just sharing a moment of kindness with other humans.
This making-friends-with-strangers habit makes Mark nuts because he just wants to go into the store and then get right out. It drives my oldest son crazy, too. “They don’t want to talk to you, Mom,” he’ll say.
I pressed Send on the text to Carla.
Not two minutes later, she responded with the sweetest reply, and also shared with me that she was having a rough time and that my text turned her day around.
She even shared it on her Facebook page!
I’m so glad I reached out to her, and her reply was confirmation that we should never hold back in sharing our “niceties,” as Carla calls them, with others, because it made me feel really great to know that it made her feel really great.