Being lonely was my fear. The idea of my closest friends no longer being my immediate neighbors unnerved me. Wherever I go, I know I can meet people. But camaraderie, that isn’t easy to come by. And that’s what I was losing. Those people around who I could love, fight, laugh, cry, create and destroy but know that between us no politics existed – just understanding.
There are two strategies to building relationships. The first is being yourself until you find those who will tolerate, and maybe even love, you. The second is to adapt yourself to the preferences of the people you meet. All of us jump back and forth between the two. There are deep potholes on either path. But I’ll be damned before I say one isn’t preferable over the other.
Something we feel when around those who love us, and we love, is a freedom that enables. The courage to keep your car in gear and foot on the pedal. Around them, you know that whether you had a good or bad day, they see you the same way. And you can always retreat to them to be reassured of what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.
I tried to adapt. Adapt to become more palatable to people I can’t even speak very highly of. Once again, it was fear. The fear of not having someone to meet up with for dinner. The fear of months whizzing by whilst only communicating with those people I miss. The fear of not having a social life centered on those people who I am around, but away from. The fear of feeling stranded.
Where does this end? Who knows. It’s always fun to start writing something that you believe will be a proclamation, and then have it end as nothing more than a statement that will have you calling yourself a hypocrite someday. If I were to try to salvage some grand meaning that sums up lessons learned in my past year, I guess this is it.
Community is everything. Whether that community is family or friends. And the joy that comes from doing something you love isn’t actually from doing that thing day in and day out. It comes from the people who support you in what you’re doing, and those doing it with you. We can only last so long on our own.