Yesterday, Saturday, I committed to my usual routine. In order, beginning at 6 a.m., I: social networked, cleaned my place, ran errands, visited my parents, and then headed to CK Cafe in the Claremont Village. While many people like to start off their day at a coffee shop in the early a.m., I prefer to take care of certain responsibilities before I sip on my cup o' joe in any other place than home. And especially yesterday, I am glad I arrived at this hidden spot when I did, at 11:00 a.m.
Because here's what happened to my typical Saturday: It was interrupted with inspiration.
I have been spending time at CK Cafe (formerly called "Nick's") since I was 15 years old. Back then, as a sophomore in high school, my mom would drop me off with my friends so that we could read poetry and talk about boys. When I was in college, I turned to this place so that I could do my homework and write "The Daily Titan" news articles in peace. And now, it is my stress-free place where I organize bills and make to-do lists. But today was different as I met an older gentleman who has been coming to this coffee shop for as long as I have.
And it was all my doing -- I introduced myself to this man, Gregory, outside on the patio. I said, "Excuse me. Wow, I think we've both been coming here for the same amount of years. I always remember seeing you and overhearing your conversation will locals. I am Elana." Gregory (now with a greying beard) responded with, "Wow, I feel old. But tell me what you have been up to in these last 15 years."
With that invitation to talk about myself, I told him my story -- from Pomona High School days to my days at Cal State Fullerton to now my adult days as a writer, editor, blogger, and personal shopper. I learned that in addition to being a computer programmer, he is also a novelist. Then it all unfolded. See, I am in the process of writing a book -- an extension of my work with Agenda Magazine. So this was the opportunity of a lifetime, engaging in conversation with Gregory. He shared insight as to what it takes to start a book, how to deal with critics, how to find your voice, and being realistic as to the timeline on how long it takes to create your first draft. As others outside overheard our conversation, getting involved and speaking up when something sparked their interest, I felt special. I felt like I was in on the secrets to becoming successful.
Had I never introduced myself, I believe that my Saturday would never have been as fulfilling as it was. A 2-hour conversation about literature and the book publishing industry inspired me more than words can say.
So I write this post because I want to inspire you. I believe it is important to be assertive, proactive, and a kind person on all levels in nearly all situations. Sure, I could have stayed outside, to myself, and still enjoyed the sounds of birds chirping and the crisp air. But I chose to interact with a familiar stranger, and am now experiencing a new strength because of this. Please take the time to notice your surroundings. You never know who is sitting next to you, unless you speak up.
To top it all off, Gregory said that I made his day as well. That was the icing on the cake.