A long-time dear friend, Torun Moore, and her great kids stopped by for a visit this evening. I’ve known Torun since third grade. She lives in Virginia now, so we don’t get to see each other often, but we do try to stay in touch and visit whenever possible. Tonight when she showed up she brought with her the gift of a wonderful apple pie from Sue’s Pies and More. Sue’s is a small bakery in Virginia and we would never have known about it had it not been for Torun.

This  got me thinking about all the other things I’ve been able to experience in my life because of the connections I’ve made — things which have made my life considerably richer.

As I’ve written about before, if it hadn’t been for my good friend, Lois Weinblatt of Zingerman’s Professional Gifts, I probably never would have had the joy of tasting their one-year aged cheddar nor their unbelievable “over the moon” pies. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a “foodie”, but Lois opened my ideas to what a joy it could be.

If it hadn’t been for my friends Larc and Al Bogdan, I doubt that I would ever have experienced a large out-of-town science fiction convention. I certainly wouldn’t be making my annual pilgrimage to Dragon*Con each year.

Cheryl O’Brien recommended the Purple Rose Theatre. That turned into a delightful “date night” with my wife. Through Lindsay McCarthy’s efforts on the Leadership Ann Arbor program, I met Russ Collins from whom I got to learn the history of movie theaters and that of the Michigan Theater in particular. Attending a minor league baseball game, enjoying a college football game tailgate party, and eating at a restaurant in a distant city — these are all events I would not have had were it not for the people I’ve met over the years.

Now, would my life be a dismal failure without these experiences? Probably not. Nor is it necessarily a towering success as a result of them. Still, my life’s memories are definitely richer for having known these folks. Really, at the end of the day, the memories are just as important as the business referrals our networking might bring.

So get out there and use your network to discover new ways to create a life not only full of success, but full of fun, as well.