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Imagine My Surprise

Exposure brings funny things. With the launch of the WL100 site, my little stories have been getting exposure beyond the five people I’ve already written about, and beyond the four or five more people I’ve shared details with. 

I don’t have a professional editor, so of course there have been a few typos and grammatical errors to correct, plus a couple of grammatical errors I’ve left alone because I just like it better that way, and all of this was to be expected. 

But I’ve been delightfully surprised by a few things I’d like to share, mostly because I think you’ll also get something out of it.

First thing: Every time I’ve shown a person their story of how they’ve impacted me, they were surprised. They may or may not have remembered the specific incidents I’d written about, which isn’t an indication of my sketchy memory or interpretation of events (after all, I was corrected a few times), but rather it’s an indication of impact. They did or said something that touched my heart or maybe cold-cocked me over my head, and it changed me. Here’s the brilliant thing though: They had no idea! For them it was just a piece of conversation or a quick action, just them being them, but for me it was everything.

Second thing: A number of people clicking on this site and reading these stories, who may or may not know my subjects, have told me they wish they had one of these people in their lives. Or they wish they could get along with a friend or family member in their orbit.

This is why I’m writing, because this is all of us! You are 100, and you have 100. Try looking around a little harder and give it some time to come into focus. (My 100 didn’t happen overnight, y’know.)

First, you are undoubtedly on someone’s 100 list. Face it, if you’ve been kind and shown compassion and love during a challenging time, you’re a superhero. You won’t know what you did or said unless they tell you—and they probably won’t because 100 is a big number, and unfortunately people tend to save this stuff for eulogies—but compassion and kindness and going out on a limb undoubtedly had something to do with it. You have crazy secret powers.

Second, I was a huge, insensitive dork for much of my early life. I moved to Ireland when I was 19 and realized I was at the root of most of my problems, and then I got incredibly lucky with the people in my life. None of the relationships I’m writing about were pre-ordained. They involve the kind of work where we’ve each set aside egos, shed a few tears, listened really hard, and found opportunities to agree. You can do this. Remember to inhale.

And for those of you who think I’m posing as someone who knows it all, keep in mind that at least two of the women on my list are people I no longer speak with. Imagine, you can lose a relationship for some good (and not so good) reasons, and that person can still make the list. It doesn’t mean you need to be bff’s or you need to renew a relationship; sometimes it’s simply better that you don’t. But you still get to keep, and honor, all the good stuff. I’ll be writing about them, too.

Find those stories, my friends. Create them and find yourself as surprised as I have.