Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 384: "Authentically You… That’s My Advice."

“Remember to be you. Authentically you and smile to strangers and love everybody but love yourself. Always, always, always just do that little bit extra, even if it’s not convenient. That’s my advice.” —Roshan


So there I was, sitting at my desk, consumed in completing a long list of tasks as I prioritized my actions. It’s a common ritual for all of us. Our life, our work and our play expands and contracts with deadlines and commitments. We end days on highs, and we end days on lows. Yet in all, lessons are learned.

On a regular basis we gaze upon our goal lists, contemplating our futures as we dream of “that day when.”

Why the sentimental intro? You might ask. Well, I re-learned another lesson today, one that directly links to the very reasoning that grounds why Operation-365 exists, and to why I will do my part in growing our community.

5:00pm… I peeled myself from my desk, redirected (by a nagging subconscious) away from what I perceived as the days priorities. You know, those quite thoughts that dwell in the background of what we agonize as have to do’s.

“Time to stop…” it whispered… “Get out of yourself,” It advised… “Your day has been full and there is someone you are meant to meet,” It challenged.

Now I’m only a few short days into our second one-year commitment of daily interviews of strangers (now friends), and today’s new friend has proven just how united we can be.

5:15pm… that little voice in my mind has directed me to Warner Park. I’ve been here before, even have made a few friends of 365 here. But today’s whisper feels more direct than ever. If there is one thing 365 has taught me, it is to acknowledge that little thing we call intuition. We all have it… but the question to ask ourselves is, do we follow it?

5:20pm… Park the car, and as I do, I notice two women walking towards me on the sidewalk. Something pushes me to approach them. OK, could be a creepy guy moment. I ready myself for rejection. But to ignore a first impression of my mind would have only left me questioning my motives. For I have promised myself, and you, that I will not profile whom I approach. That I would raise my chin to the world and follow the direction of the whispering voice to approach all that I lock eyes with.

[5:21]’sh pm. With business card in hand, “Hi I’m Richard, I’m a photographer and film maker…” I go on in beginning to explain O-365…

I’m stopped in my tracks as Roshan and her friend shut me down… “We know you!”

I’m shocked and a little worried. “You have,” I wobble.

“Yea, a while back you interviewed my friends (Project-365 Day 93 / “The Trail Is Our Therapy”). Remember them, you met them on the hiking trail at the top of Victory.”

“Wow, yes, I totally remember them. Great couple. Loved talking with them.” We open into a wonderful conversation.

That lesson I spoke of earlier, the re-kindling of the flame we call Operation 365. It truly is more than a series of interviews. It is the beginning of a great and united community. Roshan and her friends have proven this fact. For in a city of millions, it is possible for the paths of strangers to unite on common ground. The skeptics might lean on premises the likes of 6 degrees of separation or other similar theories. But for me, the idea is much simpler… Just speak with each other and simply leave it at that.

Talk tomorrow my good friends, and Roshan, your words have smitten us.