Quite a few people drift through life like those fuzzy dust particles drift through beams of light. A few will shine or catch a breeze and dance with each other but, despite being surrounded by them, most of them will go unnoticed. Surprisingly, being lonely has very little to do with your proximity to people. The world is populated with loneliness. People are married to loneliness, were raised by it and go to work with it everyday. One of my personal goals has always been to establish a community of differently minded and tolerant people that can help each other reduce that feeling of isolation and friendlessness.
It’s a dark world and we need communities to keep people from engaging in ridiculousness behaviors like “finding themselves.” This is a natural process that occurs over time and through activity and adventure, you cannot force it by making an announcement that you’ve suddenly decided to become who you really are. It just doesn’t work that way and, more often than not, “finding myself” often translates into trying new hobbies or wanting to make some sort of life change and needing an excuse. As a writer, I spend enough of my time immersed in my obsessions and memories. There will always be times where we are unhappy with ourselves and the world around us but doesn’t always necessitate a reinvention ourselves. Don’t make a mockery out of your entire life by spending it pretending to be something that you are not. In my humble opinion, the solution is to continue to be the person you really are and seek camaraderie. That said, I believe that there is nothing better than to occasionally commit yourself to be absolutely alone because it can yield wondrous things. Much of my best work has come from that place and it often reminds me how important my people are to me. However, we cannot all be social butterflies and party planners. Not everyone is properly equipped to make and maintain friendships.
There are plenty of things that will guarantee a lack of companionship. There are obvious things, like poor hygiene and a bad attitude, but people forget that something as seemingly infinitesimal as mispronouncing a certain word might cost you a future friendship. I, for instance, will not tolerate garbage like, “I figer he probly came to the libarie everyday cuz he suposably lived just across the street.” If you are older than six and try to bring something like that to the conversation table, I’m going to have the compulsion to step on your neck. I also don’t want to see anyone posting about their favorite television shows on social networking sites. Unless you were asked directly, nobody needs your detailed opinion on Glee. However, the worst offense may be this bizarre need some people have to always be in the right about everything.
I just feel that it is better to remain open to new and experiences and ideas because it offers you unique advantage. You’ll never know everything but it couldn’t hurt to learn as much as you can anyway. I feel sorry for people who think they have all the answers. A lot of people confuse stubborn ignorance with having strong principals. Nobody wants to be wrong, especially those who are. But it seems to me that the willingness to be wrong is infinitely more useful than the need to always be right. Aristotle claimed that an educated mind can entertain a thought without accepting it and he is sort of my go-to-guy on matters like this. He spent his entire life questioning and examining the world before coming to the conclusion that knowledge is always changing and based largely upon perception. When someone is talking about “the good old days” they are almost always referring to a nostalgic perception of their childhood. As children, we really cannot appreciate the horrors of the world around us because we are stoned by our own youth. If you don’t believe me, put a kid in front of the morning news for ten minutes and ask them what they recall. I will guarantee that, despite the reports being riddled with reports on murder, rape, arson, unemployment and other unpleasantness, the child will probably remember the commercials best. Then they’ll ask for a sandwich or something. It isn’t until we become adults that we allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking that the world has become a dangerous and scary place.
It is easy to forget that we all see out of different eyes and that most people genuinely want to make contact. We are not just receptacles for food and alcohol that occasionally engage each other in conversation and to reproduce. We are sometimes unique and interesting people inside of a larger community. It isn’t until we allow ourselves to become mundane, withdrawn and fearful that we have no place in it. Be a little braver and you may end up a little happier too.