Slow down and listen

Recently, a friend called me to catch up. He’s going through his first major move, and it isn’t happening in the best of circumstances. He’s being kind of forced to move out during his last semester of college. This is the time in his life where he should be focusing on the next steps of his career and finishing strong in school, but instead, he has to focus on how he’s going to secure a dinner table.

Before he told me all this and how he felt about it, I told him I had to get off the phone. It’s finals week for me, and I needed to focus on school, but he said something that made me stop: “I’m not talking to anyone about this.” To me, that meant, “Kyle, I am bottling this up, and I need to talk about it to someone I trust.” So, instead of rushing off the phone, I reflected for a moment on the times I felt like I needed someone there for me. I remembered what it’s like to feel like you don’t have someone to talk to.

After this brief reflection, I decided school can wait. A good person makes time for the people they care about, particularly in moments of inconvenience. I listened, told him his feelings were valid and encouraged a spirit of hope.

It was only an extra 15 minutes or so, but I’m certain that time made all the difference in the world.

I’m sharing this story as an example of what it’s like to stop, take inventory of your priorities and values, and do the right thing. It’s these small moments that add up to a well-lived and meaningful life. It’s these small moments that define our character.