Over the last two years, I've come to realize that the words coming out of my mouth mean nothing. The only thing that matters is what those words mean to the person with whom I'm speaking.
With age, tiny glimpses of wisdom. Deeper listening. Subtle stirrings of genuine empathy.
The lens of experience is something everyone is familiar with. Focusing in on the things we know and have come to understand. Where most people see a flower garden, a gardener sees a cacophony of specifics - species, organisms in varying states of comfort or duress, mulch incorrectly applied.
Experience turned towards others has a similar effect. Where I used to sense annoyance, I now sense more complex shades of fear, guilt, impatience, worry. I hear more subtle concerns and can anticipate responses ever so slightly before they are spoken.
I wonder what conversations will feel like after another five or ten years of this work. Thousands of conversations, years of listening. Each moment unique and yet fully alive in its own universality.