On a sunny winter Friday morning, I was taking our young dog for a walk. I was due to meet my partner on Oriental Parade, and since I’d arrived early, I thought I’d take a few moments to check my emails as I waited by the beach.
My dog, Astro, had been spotted by another dog and their owner as they came off the beach. The owner said how disappointing it was that there were no dogs on the beach; her dog wanted to play. I replied that I would let Astro off on the beach so the two dogs could interact; meanwhile, I sent off an email.
By the time I was actually ‘present’ on the beach they were heading off. I had missed an opportunity to connect.
The irony of the situation was that, on the walk down the hill, I had been thinking about a newsletter I was writing and tossing around ideas around wellbeing, connection, happiness, and mindfulness in my head. I was in my head and missed the moment.
An important contributor to happiness and wellbeing is our social relationships. Strengthening our relationships with others improves our experience. It could be making eye contact and smiling at a stranger, really listening to a colleague to connect and understand, a hug with a friend, or an act of kindness for someone else.
We are social creatures and need to connect. Because we are all connected, how I am will impact others. It’s a ripple effect.
That morning was just one missed opportunity to connect. We have so many of these opportunities each day – it’s worth taking the time to use them.