Monday, 7 November 2011

Call Me

Some years back I took a phone call out of the blue from a friend. I say out of the blue as basically she had never phoned me before (or since for that matter). We’d never been overly close but we drifted in the same circles, sent the occasional text, and used Facebook and emails as favoured communications of choice. 

Anyway, she started our chat by saying she was a bit bored so had decided to phone me ("thanks!", I guess). Unbeknown to me she actually had a bit of an interest in me beyond just friendship - she admitted as much at a much later date, around the time her married, two kids, different country status was well established. In hindsight this interest might have been behind some of the line of questioning she used that night:

"So what do you do in your spare time?"

I paused and had a think. "Well, I like socialising."

Her response: "Don't we all? What else?"

Me: "Ermm, I go to the gym."

Her: "Loads of people we know do that. What else?"

I paused again. At that moment in time I couldn't think of anything beyond the banalities of watching TV, going to the cinema and being in the office. I had been playing football socially but that was becoming quite sporadic. I had little of substance. She, meanwhile, had a few months earlier headed to Florida just to go waterskiing for two weeks, had been on a few interesting hikes in various countries, had got involved in a charity and was in the midst of a complete career change. I had nothing as exotic to throw into the mix.

I doubt whether she would ever remember the conversation but I still recall it some 4 or 5 years on. Maybe not all at once but that one chat did spur me on to have a look at things, to try a few new ideas, to have something to say when the proverbial "What have you been up to?" question comes along. That conversation has often come back to me when inertia has taken hold or when I slip back into the humdrum and am not adding value to myself or anyone else. In some ways it was a call to action - or, to use an insight from Stephen Covey in his "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", when you look back on life from your deathbed are you going to wish that you'd spent more time in the office or more time watching TV? I don't think so.

These days I've got a few more things to throw into the mix. If she rang today I could now now say that I've been doing kung fu for the last 3 years, have a side-line life coaching business up and running (albeit extremely inactive), am currently doing an 8-week theatre-based voice and public speaking training course, have just started a part-time Masters course, and when it takes my fancy I have this blog to write.

It's amazing how much impact some conversations can have on other people's lives without you even knowing.


  1. You have been busy! Kudos! I hope you'll still have time for your blog. It's very inspiring. Sincerely, Gayle McGinty aka Ajor

  2. Many thanks for that Gayle!