When I began this journey, the thing people most often talked about was what I would do if someone cancelled. How in the world would i get another appointment the day of? When I said I would go and meet random people, some of those same people had their jaws hit the floor. We live in a society where we often perpetuate the myth that meeting people and making friends is virtually impossible at random. You have to say something more than "hello" to talk to a person, rings the common wisdom in its frighteningly common inaccuracy. How many times do you reach out to people you just want to meet, with no real agenda or objective in mind? You may do it a lot, not at all, or maybe you don't do it as much as you'd like.
Tara Cosca found me through the blog postings on LinkedIn. Prior to that we had no idea who each other were and, honestly, if Tara had not reached out we might never have met one another. When she did reach out and set a time to connect I couldn't resist the chance to meet her and make a connection. I'm glad I didn't miss the opportunity.
To call Tara friendly would not do her justice. Tara is so much more than friendly, so much more than welcoming. Upon my arrival we greet with a hug and she flashes me her warm smile, one of those smiles that makes you feel like you are the only person present at that moment. She looks directly at you and speaks to you as though you had been friends for years. It is easy to believe that Tara has never met a stranger, or even a mere acquaintance. Tara carries herself as someone who knows everyone, or will very shortly.
Tara is a wife and mother. We talk about her family a bit, about their story and their travels, from New York to the Outer Banks and then Charleston. You can tell by her tone and the look in her eye, by the way she smiles when she talks about them and the adjustments she made to her daily routine, that her family is so important to her. We all generally agree that family is a treasure in principle, but to Tara you can see just how precious that treasure really is. I don't have that same bond with a family that she does, but the more I talk with her, the more I want that same kind of presence in my life, not out of envy but out of a legitimate desire for that type of joy. Tara's warmth is one of those general energies you feel and suddenly wonder if you are out or at home, it's that kind of comfort you feel.
For a while we share our stories. Both of us share our hard roads, but not in terms of victimization or being trapped by them, rather we talk about how we overcame and grew, how we adapted and the bright futures we see. For both of us, those down spots in our roads are things we need to learn from and find our way past, not items to be lingered upon. It can be dangerous. In very personal ways we both have learned lessons in how to focus on the potential future, not solely on the circumstances of our past or present. While presence is important, hope is also what helps us grow into the future we desire, the future we can have.
Tara talks to me about searching for her definitive purpose, for that dream which drives a person forward with such passion. She is intrigued about my story and about my nascent purpose, this new discovery I have made in my life. Tara is still looking, but she is actively exploring, taking time to try new things and open up, to connect to new people and to change things in life in order to find something she is looking for. Often we look for that purpose, that change, and yet we make no change in our own life in order to drive that search. We act as though that change will just happen out of the thin air, when the reality is that we must search for purpose, search for passion and try everything until we figure out what it is. I admire how Tara is working and trying, I am doing the same thing, I have just made some steps on my road that are different, no better or worse, just different.
We spend almost two hours together and I can say that I truly like my new friend Tara. She is warm, inviting and a person who seems a natural at being a friend. It's a wonderful way to spend a morning and grab breakfast. As I drive away I wonder how many of these people I have missed because I got too caught up to reach out and talk to someone. I am glad I don't any more and very glad that Tara didn't hesitate to reach out, to connect.
Favorite Dinosaur: Pterodactyl
Why: When she got married, she put her first name to her last initial, forming the name Tarac. Tarac is a pterodactyl and her alter ego should she ever need to fight Godzilla. (I cannot express how much I love this answer.)