Throughout October, Montco Happening was honored to feature a four part weekly series written by local resident, teacher and cancer survivor Randi Rentz. The “Survivor Series” articles were aimed to help raise awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness month and thanks to all of our readers, her message was able to reach thousands of local residents. In order to further raise awareness during the other 11 months of the year, we are happy to announce that Randi will now be a monthly guest writer for our digital lifestyle magazine. We look forward to learning more about life through her eyes while continuing to help raise awareness on a disease that has seemingly affected each and every one of us.

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Shining Moments by Randi Rentz

“Call me crazy, but I look forward to waiting in line, and just about any opportunity to shoot the breeze with people I don’t know. I’m chummy with the guy who pumps my gas, (the only gas station nearby where they still pump gas for you), still exchange holiday cards with my 4th grade elementary school teacher, and the other day I spent a solid hour gabbing with an 81-year old woman I met at the tailor’s while having my pants hemmed.

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I’m now a life-long, die-hard people person. I never used to be, though. In fact, I never enjoyed chatty encounters with people I didn’t know…until cancer. I wasn’t hostile before breast cancer. Every day I had pleasant exchanges with strangers and acquaintances—an enthusiastic “Morning!” or a friendly “Have a great day!” Such moments continue to be life-affirming, yet, prior to breast cancer, they were blessedly brief.

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On-the-fly updates from people I’ve barely met used to drain me. Seriously. I always felt obliged to respond with genuine emotion, to pay real attention. I would fake outrage or concern, with a performance that was definitely Oscar worthy. That meant stopping whatever I was doing, and force myself to focus. Since my laser-beam concentration was always sensed by the people stopping me, their details got longer and longer. Oy, vey! I felt trapped like a mouse in a maze.

 

Did breast cancer make me a people person? Well, I think it made me more aware of the little moments in life that make up the big moments. I now enjoy being a true people person—even though I’m inclined to dislike anyone who describes himself/herself this way. Go figure. I digress, sorry. Anyhoo, hear me out. Lifting your head and engaging with whoever happens to be standing next to you is worth the effort. It’s nice to see people smile and to genuinely smile back. It really feels good and refreshing. You should try it.

 

For one thing, you never know when you will receive priceless advice. The 81-year-old cautioned me to get in good with my son’s future wife and to always take the dog out for an evening walk to do “its business.” Little did she know, I have no children and own two cats that use a litter-box. Needless to say, I felt it worthy to file away her words of wisdom. Maybe a stepson and a dog are in my future. Who knows? I digress. Sorry. When I left the fitting room, fiddling with the waistband of my pants, she said, “With posture like that, who needs Spanx? Coming from a stooped octogenarian, her words felt like a wake-up call to enjoy my youthful existence.
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I believe my world is bigger with my random encounters. My brushes with strangers bring me the thrill of the unexpected, to glimpse a world I used to brush off and otherwise never see or appreciate. In the frenzy of life, with intense money, work and time pressure, I honestly didn’t have much conversational energy to spare.

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Now, I think of it as a habit as “meeting new people,” even if I never see them again. My encounters with strangers bring me back to a place where I long to be. I never had grandparents, because they died before I was born. But now I cherish chance meetings with people of all ages, especially older people. I find their perspective to be rather eye-opening.

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Instead of rolling my eyes, I appreciate the interruption. I am so grateful for the little things in life (Shining Moment). I now understand what being a warm person means.

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And now, onto the Spanx!”

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To learn more about Randi and her message to all men & women affected by breast cancer, swing by her blog at http://randirentz.com. She was also voted as the Winner for Best Blogger in Montgomery County in the 2014′ Happening List. Check out her site to see why!

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