It's Not All About You

In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, people often forget that not everything is about ourselves and it is good to make new acquaintances and ask other people questions. It is easy to complain about our own personal lives, whether it is school, our relationships, or the rude comment that somebody said about you, even though you know it is not true. Why is it so easy to get upset about our own life but yet so hard to appreciate what other people have done or are doing? Why is it so difficult to ask the person who is standing next to you in the checkout line at the grocery store how there day is going? Why is it that we spend so much time worrying about what we are going to wear to work that day when there are people that cannot even afford to eat? I bring up these questions because I want people to recognize that there is more to life than just you. In fact there are probably many people you run across everyday that would love to share a little bit about themselves if you are willing to take the time and ask.

Anybody who has ever had the chance to sit down and have a conversation with me knows that I love to ask questions. I have always felt that everyone has a story or has some random fact of knowledge that you could learn just by taking the time to ask. As Miss ND International, 2011, one of my favorite parts of this past year has been receiving the opportunity to meet so many different people, people of all ages. This past month as I have been traveling around North Dakota, there are two stories that come to mind I would like to share. The first one took place at the North Dakota American Heart Association’s Greater Grand Forks Heart Walk. I had the chance to participate in the event, and as I was standing next to the American Heart Association’s booth I noticed a family participating with bright green t-shirts on that said “4 Evan.” As I said earlier, I am a very curious person so of course I asked what the story was behind the t-shirt. There was a little boy, I believe around the age of three, who had severe heart problems and they were doing the walk on behalf of him. Shortly after that I got the opportunity to meet Evan and even though he did not talk much his smile offered more than words ever could. He was a happy baby boy, surrounded by love and support.

Last week I volunteered at the Strasburg Care Center with my Aunt Diane.  It was here that I got the chance to talk with an older gentleman named Bob. Even though Bob did not recognize me, I had remembered him from my young elementary years. My aunt and uncle use to mow his lawn and sometimes when I was visiting I would help out and that was when I first met Bob. He opened a store in Strasburg that is still up and running today by his son. More importantly he was on the committee many years ago that decided to build a care center in Strasburg. In fact, he watched it be built and today that is where he calls home. I sat down with Bob for about 15 minutes, in those 15 minutes I learned more about his life than some of the people I interact with everyday. As I was getting ready to say good bye, he said somewhat that struck me and put a smile on my face, he said something along the lines, “I know you have to get going, but I just love to talk.” I responded by saying, “You are not the only one!”    

Everyone has good days and bad days, but even taking ten seconds out of your day to say hello to a stranger you are passing by and asking them how they are doing could make a world of difference to them. We are not equipped to know what other people are going through, but we do have the ability to take the focus off ourselves and ask other people questions. For me personally, I make it a point whenever I am out and about, at an appearance, in class, or even shopping to say hello to someone new and simply ask, “How are you today?” In the end it is important to remember that life is not all about you, take the time to appreciate the little things.  More importantly, take time to seize the opportunity to listen to other people’s stories and ask questions, you never know when a person might come along and impact you so much that it changes your life forever. 

Yours truly,

Stacy Schaffer
Miss ND International 2011

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