Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Roundabout Reminder From The Universe ...

I love Twitter.

Some folks profess to not understand it but Twitter is the most amazing conduit ever conceived. In what other way do any of us have real-time access to such a vast array of people? None. Twitter is it.

Now, granted, tweeting at someone doesn't guarantee that they'll see your tweet. And you are far more likely than not to never hear from the tweetee.

But you never know, do you? About seven years ago, I tweeted at Angelo after seeing the best reveal in the history of reveals and today, he's a dear friend. (Hi, dear friend! Octopus!)

Occasionally, I have a fleeting interaction with someone interesting – Mia Farrow and Lizz Winstead spring to mind – and sometimes, I try to be helpful. As was the case on Friday.

Dan Pallotta, for whom I have great respect, tweeted a link to a shortened version of his first TED talk, which you should really watch in its entirety. Surely you can spare 19 minutes.

Alas, when I clicked, I landed on a page that informed me "The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you're not in."

So I tweeted at him, so he could check to make sure the video had been made public. We had a brief exchange. "re-posted. videos and facebook and me not a good combo," he shared. Later, I saw that he had posted the YouTube link. I clicked. "This video is private." I mentioned that to him, too.

But in the meantime, now that Pallotta was on my mind, I thought back to my first 3-Day, which was a Pallotta TeamWorks event. Dan created the AIDS Ride and the 3-Day, and it truly took me just a few minutes of experiencing the world he created to decide that I wanted to work for him.

Alas, Pallotta TeamWorks was not very long for this world. Which is very unfortunate, because the world was a better place with Pallotta TeamWorks in it.

Happily, Dan is still very much about making a difference.

On that first 3-Day, though, I reconnected with my friend Adam. He and I had met in college but had lost touch. I knew that he was working for Pallotta, though, and I hoped to see him. But with thousands of people, how likely was it that I was going to be in the same place at the same time as my friend?


And, as is often the case, it happened when I least expected it.

I was done with my Day 0 duties – once upon a time, kids, the Internet was not as robust as it is today, and some things could not be accomplished online; I know! It's difficult to fathom, isn't it? But we had to do some things in person – and was walking back toward the coaches that would shuttle us to our hotels for the night. I was walking down a road in the park where we'd kick off the next morning, walking with some new friends I'd made, and he was just ... there. Off to the side. He saw me. I saw him. We screamed and hugged. Kismet.

The crews on 3-Days work their butts off and so I didn't see him a lot during the event but on the second night, he found my tent and climbed inside. It was chilly that night, unseasonably chilly for Atlanta, but the tents are not big. He wasn't going to be there long, though, and Pat, my walking partner and tentmate, didn't seem to mind the extra coziness for a few minutes.

Adam presented me with a little care package of Pallotta swag (I don't spell it "schwag." "Schwag" looks schweird.) including a waistpack, which I would use on every 3-Day thereafter, but also a note, written on the back of a Pallotta TeamWorks flyer.

On Friday, I remembered that note. I remembered that I would take it out of my waistpack before the start of every 3-Day and read it. It was an invocation of sorts, and Adam's kind words would carry me into another event, another trek, another 60 miles.

The waistpack is still in the same place though I haven't walked in years. But on Friday, I pulled it out of the drawer and retrieved Adam's note and unfolded it gingerly. (It's a little worse for the wear after so many years of folding and unfolding and getting wet more than once.)

I've been struggling with some things lately. But on Friday, I was reminded, as my friend Nona would say, that I can do hard things. I have done hard things. "Hard" is relative, of course, and I may well face even harder things in the future. But Adam's note reminded me that hard things are rarely accomplished alone. If we are fortunate – and most of us are – we have lovely people around us, believing in us, supporting us, cheering us on. Or lending a hand or a shoulder when we need to steady ourselves or lean.

My friend Gemma's sister Devereaux once said, "I want to live in the 3-Day universe."

Indeed. It is a place of extraordinary kindness. Dan created that universe. On Friday, he reminded me of it. And reminded me of Adam. And reminded me that I can do hard things.

Here's to the next of life's treks.

Thanks, Twitter. Thanks, Dan.


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