The walking man walks

Other men will stop and talk; / but the walking man walks.  So sings James Taylor.  I understand he was referring to his dread of changing seasons, but I took another meaning from those words…

Over the past few years, and especially of late, I have been fretting over my lack of friends, and the resultant verbal and emotional overloading I subject my husband to.  Thinking about why this is, I am beginning to realise that part of the problem lies with how I engage with people.  I don’t really.  Why does the walking man keep going when other people stop?  Is it because he thinks that he has nothing valuable to offer?  Is it because he is afraid that people will not be interested and it’s less hurtful to avoid possible rejection than to risk it?

Looking at that from a different direction, I am learning to become a better listener – to show people who stop and talk to me that they are significant, and to make the break in their life journey feel worthwhile.  That isn’t a one-way street either:  it feels great to listen, and to step out of my own meanderings to take stock of someone else’s.  I don’t know for certain, but maybe most people don’t consider their conversations are worth stopping for.  Maybe it’s up to me to show them that they are.

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