For 2014, I made a New Year’s resolution to get to know all the people in my life by name. Sounds simple, right? It’s not.
Granted, I am already on a first name basis with my family, neighbors (most of them) and co-workers, but widening that circle takes a radical shift. It is much easier to be anonymous than it is to be known. Yet, it makes me happier to know people personally. The gateway to knowing someone is to know their name.
I’ve always been a big fan of the New Year’s Resolution, probably because I am a big fan of having goals and achieving them. A new year, a birthday, an anniversary, an annual review: they are all a fresh start; a chance to commit to a new outcome, to stretch. I don’t live with my life on autopilot; I’m always in the driver’s seat. There was that time I worked on getting to the point in email, or stair climbing, or that time I set a goal to start a blog.
July seems like a reasonable time to do a mid-year evaluation of my progress with this whole name project. Overall, I’m doing fairly well.
The most challenging part is the introduction. For me, it usually sounds like this, “Hey, I see you here all the time, let me introduce myself, I’m Ali…” Usually this is only slightly awkward, but sometimes the other person is so surprised they forget to introduce themselves in response. Once I know the name, I have to remember it long enough to write it into an Evernote.
My system is working! At the grocery, Alex the fishmonger and Bernie the produce stock guys have become my buddies. (Fish and veggies are a go-to for my pescatarian household). Vince at the post office always waves me to an open kiosk. Jordan at FedEx takes special care packing my shipping. I’ve learned Mike the security guy for my office likes to cook and go dancing. Soya the Molly Maid has a funny sense of humor. James at the cat-food store who frowns a lot smiles when I come in. Jodi the trainer at the gym gives me high-fives. Kevin the sushi chef even throws in a treat now and then!
There are a lot more people out there for me to meet. But, my progress so far has been encouraging. I am more connected to my community. I am that cheerful person saying hello to people throughout my day. I am achieving my goals.