When I was in Hong Kong on my own my uncle expressed concern that I might get bored on my own but I smiled and told him that that was generally the way I liked it. I then spent five days exploring the area on my own, with nothing but a metro card, my camera, and my wallet. I really enjoyed my experience.
I find myself not wanting to deal with all of the extra baggage that comes with certain friendships and lately I’ve been laying a more critical eye to the relationships in my life. Which are healthy? I believe that this is a binary question — people are either good for you or not. Which are interesting, and provoke me to explore new things and learn more about myself? This is less so. When I went back to Penn I felt as though I kept being asked to give out advice, constantly, and found an imbalance in the amount of external reflection that should organically come about from one’s relationships.
This year a lot of things changed. It’s hard for me to describe it as anything other than a paradigm shift in discovery of what is important to me vs. what society tells me. Jen put it in a great way in an email: it’s like “crossing to the other side.” A complete rethinking of how to, well, think. I don’t care about what other people think, I’ve stopped generally partying as much, and I think that I am a far less boring person.
I now have a rule for myself: if by and large you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re not taking enough risks. And if you’re not taking enough risks, you’re neither growing nor truly living.
Also: happiness can’t be ascertained through external metrics.
The first thing is important because being around generally risk-averse people makes me hold back, because, well, most everyone tries to, lightly or not, impress their beliefs subconsciously on those around them.
The second thing is important because I feel like a lot of our usage of things like Facebook and Twitter is to express how great our lives are and relax one’s public FOMO, which is to show people that you’re happy, which is stupid because if you’re happy it just shows despite the number of Facebook photos you have or check-ins to enviable places.
Just as importantly though this has forced me to also be choosier about the company that I keep. Gone are people with whom I’d leave conversations feeling worse about myself. But present are wonderful friends who encourage me and I actually care about! This has obviously resulted in quality over quantity. And I don’t think this has been a bad thing at all.
Friday, June 1 2012
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