Day 7 is relationships.
We all have them: families, friends, schoolmates from a former life, extended family, work colleagues, work besties, actual best friends, acquaintances, that random person in your yoga class. Man is by nature a social animal, thus spake Aristotle. I’ve always felt more affinity for that mindset than the Rousseauean idea that man wants to be alone but ends up with other people so that the man can get ahead/overcome nature/eat.
It really bothers me to have shallow relationships. Like really, really bothers me. I don’t do single serving friends. I want to have someone I can chat with, where time may pass without me seeing them and then we pick up and its like no time has passed. I am perfectly fine with a small circle of friends who matter.
My issue of late has been how many of those friends have moved away– to a different city, to a different state, in one case to a different continent. And I know those relationships are still there, I don’t long for replacements, but in the day to day I am lonely.
The whole point of the blog post I’m looking at on the Minimalists is that you need to be surrounded by people who support you in your journey. I am blessed to have my immediate family members be supportive, to see value for themselves as well. But it is lonely in my day to day.
At work, we are in a cubicle farm, but I am alone. I am surrounded by a sea of empty cubicles though I’m part of a team. I’m supposed to forge relationships with these people based on an accident of place. And I imagine that’s not dissimilar to forging friendships with people because you live in the same town or go to the same school– but those are large population groups. My “small” high school had 500 people total. The school I graduated from had 1000. I grew up in a metro area with over 10 million people. Pretty good odds that I’ll find kindred spirits. But on a team of 20 people in which we have zero in common? Its just not happening. And the faux friendships are killing me. I’ve managed to find 3 or 4 women at work I consider actual friends, though not deep, privy to all my secrets, warts and all friends. Those are rare anyway.
I am introverted but I still crave friends, those various forms of love that exist in the way we work with people– the love of a spouse, of family, of friends. Staring that void in the face is scary, but worthwhile. And hopefully at some point, it will pay dividends.
As an aside, I know the title makes no sense in relation to what’s actually in the blog. Its because what keeps going through my head are those scenes from Love, Actually– the airport scenes where they intone “Love, actually, is all around” Where you see scenes of friends and family greeting loved ones. It might be a return from a trip, or after traveling to see you. Its such an important underpinning of relationships, I just can’t get it out of my head (there’s a lot swirling around up there, no lie)