I, like most of the country, am completely sucked in to the NBC drama, ‘This is Us’. And I, like most viewers, challenge myself weekly to avoid crying while watching an episode. How can you not? The show confronts big issues without hiding the messy side of life. If I can relate to the moment, I’m in a puddle of tears. But one recent episode really rocked me.
No. Not the one where Kate and Toby try POUND at the weight loss camp (see pic). Though, I like that one for obvious reasons (we offer POUND at TURN). I’m talking about the funeral episode for Randall’s dad, William.
Let me catch you up in case you’re living under a rock. Randall and William only recently became acquainted as father and son because Randall was given up for adoption as a newborn. In his months long time with his terminally ill, biological father he learns one valuable lesson: slow down and enjoy life. Something we can all take stock in.
It wasn’t until watching that episode that I realized the old me, the executive producer me, had forgotten to “take time to talk to my mailman.”
In my 30’s I defined success with dollars. I worked hard. I built a career, a family, a home, even a business – but after a few short years, I no longer built new relationships. You might even say I stopped building a life. I just didn’t have the time or the energy to go to or host events, or meet new people. I was in and out. I remember telling myself, ‘Well, if I just keep two or three really good friends for the rest of my life, that’s okay.’ It wasn’t until watching that episode that I realized the old me, the executive producer me, had forgotten to “take time to talk to my mailman.”
I just stole that quote from Randall.
Shortly after his father died, he quit his job and his stunned boss asked, “What are you going to do now?” Randall replied, “Walk instead of run. Slow down. Take time to talk to my mailman.” He was referring to his dying father who was developing dynamic impactful relationships, even at the end of his life, with people like the mailman (who was choked up when he learned William had died).
It’s been six months since I made the choice to leave TV news and I’ve “talked to the mailman” on several occasions. Figuratively, that is. I’ve developed friendships and had lunches with several small-business owners in the city. I’ve spent hours talking to my friends and family on the phone (Like, ‘til 2:00am on a Thursday). I’ve bonded with TURN students while taking more classes than just Dance Trance, I've lined up events for us to enjoy and I’ve hung out talking in the halls of the studio to maintenance and repairmen who wanted to share their fitness journeys. I've even redecorated rooms in the building and, I guess, in my heart - because similar interactions are taking place at home and with neighbors. Life looks brighter and fun again and I want to share in it with more people. I feel stronger and healthier too.
The nice thing about working at TURN is the studio is filled with so many visitors, clients and instructors from different backgrounds and hometowns that the journalist in me is still thriving. Only now, I am creating friendships instead of newscasts.
If you haven’t talked to your mailman, I’m giving you permission to slow down and say hello. Maybe even talk about how ‘This is Us’ made you cry the ugly cry… yet again.
About the Author
Sandi Cauley is a small business owner, fitness instructor, dancer and retired broadcast journalist. She operates Turn Cardio Jam Studio in Richmond, VA (founded in 2015) with goals to mesh dance + fitness and connect others with some of their youth. She is also a 3 x boy mom, a Tejana, a wannabe