“If you’re feeling lonely, spend time with someone who is actually alone. It may change your entire perspective.”- Rayna Rose Exelbierd
On a day where there is pressure to not be alone and for some painful reminders of being single, choosing to be with Anya and Angela Fisher turned into the greatest Valentine’s Day of my life! I share this story to inspire you to seek out people of any age. That we don’t have to wait for special moments to go out of our way to spend time with someone else. We just need to pick up the phone.
Sometimes the best things happen by accident. A few weeks ago, my friend Angela emailed her kids’ school and brought in a Holocaust survivor to speak. Her children were so moved by the Survivor’s story, Angela shared the video with me. Immediately I realize, the Survivor is my friend Anya, and that it had been a while since I called.
I tell Angela we should do dinner together and she suggested a steakhouse at the casino on Valentine’s Day. Little did we know Anya was also celebrating her 92nd birthday. Anya has the formal education of a fourth grader, and despite that has gone on to live a long and very interesting successful life. At one point she was making custom jackets for celebrities such as Prince and Diana Ross! Even doing makeup once for Cher!!
Anya was emotional throughout the night from the food, dancing, slot machines, gifts, and new friends. When we sang Happy Birthday Anya looked around the table and began to cry. She shared very few moments in her life has she felt the energy of belonging and being with family. She said, “Since the Holocaust, this is one of the best nights of my life that I will always remember.“ I was silent.
Last night I was reminded how quickly we take for granted having a family. That there are people who spend special milestones and holidays alone. The only family Anya has lived out of state. In a world where we are so divided, this story represents how total strangers can come together and create a family. If you’re feeling lonely go spend time with someone else. Make a point to reach out and spend time with those who are actually alone. Your perspective might change a little. You’ll definitely leave the encounter feeling more fulfilled.
I brought my special friend Danielle Yablonka, and together we were joined by Angela, her mom, her friend Sean, and her two awesome teenagers. After dinner, Anya was so surprised Danielle and I not only wanted to walk her up to her apartment but wanted to listen to more stories and look at her art. Your time and spirit are gifts. Invest them wisely.
My wish is may we all continue to be kind to others, have impactful conversations, and treat others like we would our family. If you have a loving family, even if it’s not big, be grateful. Most importantly, be open to new experiences and the magic that happens when good people connect.
The Rose Grows. I love you all.