I Got Nothin’

It is interesting getting older. I am more sure of who I am. I feel comfortable in my skin. I am a survivor.

As my body ages, I find solace spinning the deficits due to aging into strengths. For example, I have become a really awesome listener. People talk and I really, really listen.

Why is this different from my previous behavior? When I was younger, as people talked I was formulating my own responses while listening with half an ear. As I’ve grown in age and, I hope, wisdom, I realize my words are not as important as my presence to the person with whom I am engaged. Also, I must admit, I am less able to retain {in my mind} multiple talking points as I wait for my speaking turn. So, I might as well listen…well.

This is happening more frequently.

I was recently in a meeting with some up and coming professionals who were brainstorming ideas. I was completely engaged as I listened to the back and forth exchanges around the table. Finally, the group noticed my silence and all eyes turned to me. Looking for sage advice, the youngsters asked, “What do you think?”

I had been waiting for this opportunity to guide these young ones. Unfortunately, I had done such a good job listening that I had not formulated my own response. As seconds turned into a minute, with all eyes on me, I knew I had to say something. I smiled, folded my hands on the table and said, “I got nothin’“.

We erupted in laughter as soon as the words were out of my mouth because this is not my usual behavior. I regrouped and was able to regain my verbal stride. To no one’s surprise!

This experience reminded me of my grandmother who was a great listener. When she visited, we took turns unburdening ourselves to her because she would sit and listen for as long as it took. She didn’t have a lot to say, she just listened and nodded and smiled. When all was said and done, she affirmed her belief in us, our ability to cope with whatever came our way and her love for us.

If aging means that I will become a really great listener to the important people in my life then I say…bring it on.

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12 thoughts on “I Got Nothin’”

  1. Well, at least you were listening so intently that you didn’t have a response vs. formulating your grocery list in your head as I have done a time or two! Good on you for smiling and shrugging it off; they will learn by that example as well :)

    MJ

  2. Oh, I understand this so well! I can be quite a talker, but I also find that I am quieter in groups than I once was…maybe I have less need to share what I know? I had a very sweet friend who taught me to be a little quieter by her negative example. She was a wonderful person, but often overwhelmed the conversation, whatever the subject, regardless of the group. As much as I liked her for her many good qualities, I did not want to be like her in conversation style! Good to be a listener! And I’ll bet you recovered beautifully! ~ Sheila

  3. I have these moments more and more often;”I am less able to retain {in my mind} multiple talking points as I wait for my speaking turn.” A pen and paper never far from reach.

    You have lent me a bit of grace with this post :)

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