Hey, Boomer Walk-about #4
I was at the beautiful campus of Furman University in Greenville, SC. It must have been time for scheduled campus tours because there were lots of parents and students walking around or sitting on the lawn in groups. The trees were just starting to bloom, but no baby ducks in the pond yet.
Laura was at Veteran’s Park in Arlington TX. Veterans Park stands in remembrance of those citizens of Arlington who served our country through their military service and her grandfather Jack is memorialized there. It is the only park in the city with a heavily used disc golf course and in a nod to Texas culture, there is an equestrian trail. At 103 acres, she walked through the Texas wildscape and xeriscape gardens during our call.
Together we were on Hey, Boomer Walk-about #4.
This was an experiment. Part of my vision for Hey, Boomer is to build a community without walls, where we can connect with each other, build relationships and support as we go through the many transitions we face at this stage in our lives. Sure, we could have visited over Zoom, but since Covid, we are so connected to our desks and our laptops, for me it is time to get back out into nature and actually talk with people.
I called Laura on the phone, and we began our walk. The nice thing about walking with someone, is that you are with them, in that moment. This is an opportunity to listen and share and connect, without the distraction of websites or paper on your desk, or chores around the house.
Laura was a guest on Hey, Boomer in November 2020. She talked to us about Reverse Mentorship. One of the things Laura does is work with international university students, mentoring them during their transition to the US and their transitions to the professional world. She shared how they also mentor her on technology and culture in their countries.
Laura is originally from Texas, but had been living in Greenville, SC when I met her. She is in Dallas now to be with her 92-year-old grandmother, spending quality time with her while it is available. We talked about Covid and some of the lessons learned from the pandemic. In addition to making more time for family, she is reconsidering her latest solopreneur venture. As someone who has always worked in a People function, she is missing the value of being part of a team working toward common goals. Connection is important to Laura personally and professionally. Meanwhile, she has expatriate clients and students she is coaching for US assimilation and career mobility in addition to business clients for people initiatives. Like many professionals, she has taken the approach of location fluidity.
Spending time with her grandmother has been good for both of them. Her grandmother is in good health and now that Covid restrictions are less, she holds a weekly “game day” with some of her friends. They play strategy games, which keeps them sharp and socially connected. They even let Laura play sometimes, peppering their stories and anecdotes with rich laughter. A welcome respite in a serious world.
During the pandemic, Laura volunteered to deliver meals to older adults who could not get out, and she helped with some of their technology questions, so they could stay connected.
Laura is one of the best networkers I know. She might meet someone that could be a potential connection for Hey, Boomer and she sends me a note. We talked about how I want Hey, Boomer to grow and she had some suggestions of people to reach out to and meetups to look into. I have an old high school friend in Dallas that I connected her with.
At the end of our walk, I sat down on one of the benches outside of the Furman bookstore and we talked about some of the things that were going on in the world. Just like we would have done if we were sitting across from each other at a coffee shop. These walks are helping me realize that friendship means connecting. It does not mean that we have to be in the same town or in the same state. It does mean being willing to share and listen, support and empathize.
Thank you, Laura for joining me on the 4th Hey, Boomer Walk-about.
4 thoughts on “Friendship is about connection”
Lovely story, Wendy! I understand the attraction to telephone calls. I do the same with some of my business connections. Walking around, while talking to someone who has something of relevance to relate (but doesn’t require note-taking, is a great way to spend time with someone and be part of the outdoors.
Thanks Helen. Would you like to be a walk-about partner with me?
Thanks for sharing your walkabout conversation thoughts. I think it is a novel approach to connecting to others.It is so needed during these days where people use social media and texting only to connect. We all need to try new ways and new experiences to find more peace, and enjoyment.
Thanks Josephine. Would you like to be one of my walk-about partners?