I Went On A Walk With A Stranger, And This Is What Happened

I Went On A Walk With A Stranger, And This Is What Happened

I promise it is not as weird as it sounds
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This past weekend, I went on a Freshman Retreat in Cape May. It was a weekend of reflection, new connections, and laughs. While the retreat as a whole was moving, one particular activity, a walk on the beach, impacted me greatly.

I’ve done dialogue walks in the past, where I have gone on a walk with someone who I don’t know too well. Some have been guided with questions, others with the only instructions being to allow each person to speak, and to actively listen.

I have always found the act of a dialogue walk to be comforting. When you go on a walk with someone, your body is moving, and for me, many times this act of motion translates into the words I share.

The fact that my body is in motion allows my emotions and thoughts to also move to a point where I feel more comfortable sharing what is on my mind.

When you are having a “normal” conversation, you can see the other person’s face and reactions to what you say. However, when walking, you are not directly facing whoever you are talking with, so there is less frequent eye contact. Less judgment is emitted and again, it is easier to say what I may not otherwise share.

The walk I took this weekend was no different, and had a particularly great impact because of my current circumstances. Being at college means constantly meeting new people and seeing new faces every day. It means forming friendships without knowing whether they are lasting ones or are simply ones of association.

In a new environment, it is natural to want to surround yourself with people, and while that aspect may be easy, the difficult part is figuring out if you are surrounding yourself with the right people. It is even more difficult to decipher when your friendships that may have started surface level can go deeper.

The dialogue walk allowed me to go past small talk and instantly form a deeper connection with someone.

However, this doesn’t just happen: forming that connection requires opening up. I went into the retreat with the intent to have an open heart, and this carried on into the dialogue walk, where I chose to be my true, authentic self.

I feel like a lot of the conversations I have at college are guarded. Everything is so new and you never know how people may react to the things you say.

I have always been an advocate of vulnerability, but putting this into practice is easier said than done.

On the walk, I let go of the need to keep up appearances and was honest. I took a risk, and I am grateful to say that it paid off- once I took that step to share something close to me, she instantly felt compelled to do the same. My partner had similar experiences as me. Finding that connection was inspiring.

The conversation that followed has stayed with me over the past few days. I hadn’t realized how private I had felt the past couple of months, how much I missed letting people see exactly who I am.

This does not mean I am not real with the people I encounter every day, just that there is a certain level of closeness I know I have yet to achieve with people.

I feel so much freer. Opening up with those around me may take time, but having such a positive experience with someone I didn’t know too well is encouraging, and I am going to continue to trust the process.

So, if you ever find yourself able to, take a walk with a stranger.

I promise it's not as weird as it sounds. And while on that walk, just be yourself. It's worth it.

To the stranger, now friend, I went on the walk with, thank you for listening, for being receptive to my thoughts, and for sharing in return. It is so appreciated.

Talk soon,

Sam

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Netflix broke everyone's heart and then stitched them back together within a matter of 12 hours the other day.

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The Real Reason Millennials Seem So Indecisive To Old Folks' Untrained Eyes

Because the old people don't understand.

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So, it's 2018, right? But for whatever reason, older people still think we're supposed to stay in one job that we don't even like until we die because "it's the right thing to do." How can something that isn't stimulating, or mentally or physically fulfilling be the right thing to do in any situation?

Also, if a job isn't paying you nearly enough, go find another one. Education is expensive and you should be paid what you're worth. The degree you paid for should earn you a decent salary.

The fact that you have to have a degree to do most jobs now is something older generations don't understand. Before, you could just drop out of school at like 16 and find work. Now, sometimes a bachelors degree isn't enough! And they don't get that struggle.

Getting into college used to be much less competitive. You basically got to choose where you wanted to go, not the other way around. Also, you could go through four years of college for what one semester costs nowadays. As I said, going to college for older people wasn't a priority, for us, it's a necessity.

Employers also usually hate people who have had "too many" jobs in a short period of time, but they don't know where you worked before. Maybe it was a terrible work environment and you didn't feel needed or safe there. Maybe you had to move for financial reasons. There are a lot of reasons people leave jobs. And I would think employers would be more impressed that a person can find multiple jobs and get hired rather than being upset because they keep leaving.

Another thing older people think is that millennials are lazy and just use their phones all the time. But in high school, older people could slack off, didn't have to go to college, would still be fine, and didn't have any technology.

Now we have AP, IB, and dual credit classes, GPA's stress students out, applying for college and getting accepted is a whole show. Getting through college is stressful; finding internships, making sure you can afford all the things, applying for scholarships. Finally, you graduate and get your degree only to not be guaranteed a job. Not to mention stress about student loans, living arrangements, and the list goes on. But sure we're lazy.

Also, a lot of teenagers now and when I was in high school don't have jobs in high school because after the whole recession happened, older people started taking those jobs when they lost their high-paying ones. Also, basically every job wants experience now, but you can't gain experience if no one will hire you. So, don't call us lazy for not taking jobs that you stole from us.

And... we have to know how to work all technology?

Use social media for most jobs?

And fix phones for old people but we're on our phones too much?

Interesting that you say that... I think we deserve to be on our phones after the stress of high school, college and trying to find a job that pays us enough to cover the cost of a place to live, food, gas, a car and more.

I'm not trying to say that there's anything wrong with the way things were done before. I'm just saying that millennials deserve a little more respect than they get from older generations.

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