From our early childhood years, we’re led to believe that success, popularity and happiness is determined by a large number of people in your life.
We’re told to make a lot of friends and date a lot of people, as if that will somehow validate our social status or help us in anyway. I spent years thinking less of myself because I had so few true friends through my school years (thus, rarely had plans) and because I almost never dated. I concentrated so much effort on trying to mold myself into something I thought people wanted instead of seeing the value in myself for who I was.
It wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that I realized you don’t need an entourage of people in your life, you don’t need to alter yourself to appease others, and that doing things alone does not mean you are lonely. We already live in a society that celebrates excess, so it was not exactly a surprising phenomenon.
One of the greatest characteristics my mother taught me was how to do with less. Now in my mid-20’s, it’s apparent every day how essential that life lesson has become. I don’t want for much, and I find a way to get whatever I need.
I grew up with — and still have — dozens of acquaintances that I inaccurately describe as friends, as I’m sure they do with me. That sentence could piss some people off, but the truth is that I don’t think you can truly consider someone a friend who you haven’t seen or spoken to in years, someone you would never think to reach out to, or someone that you wouldn’t share an important life milestone with.
If I bumped into them at the mall, I’d say hello and catch up, but that would probably be it until we happened to bump into each other again. I try to see things realistically. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of people in my life that I could bump into and start a conversation with, but I’m also realistic enough to know that the greater majority of them wouldn’t invite me to their wedding, tell me that they’re pregnant, tell me they’re moving, tell me they’re seeing someone new, or even ask me to lunch just to catch up.
I’m fine with it. I accept the relationship for what it is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with calling someone an acquaintance. I don’t know when or where that term became an offensive slap in the face.
Instead of having a swarm of people at your disposal, for whatever reason, I feel that we overlook the power and importance of one person too often. At the end of the day, so much of your happiness and success in life can come down to one person.
I can sleep with hundreds of women, but if I never meet the one person that I end up spending the rest of my life with, was my romantic life really a success?
I’ve written one book, and plan to write several more. Realistically, I don’t expect any of them to become New York Times bestsellers, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a goal. All it takes is one person to love the material and put it in the right hands. That’s all it takes to change a life.
The same goes for anything else — a singer just needs one person to believe in their sound, an actor just needs one person to see something in their talent, a baseball player just needs one person to give them a shot.
My life is already almost nothing like I thought it would be a decade ago — or even five years ago.
I always hoped I’d be in sports journalism, and I’m thankful everyday for that. I always hoped to publish a book one day, and the reality that it’s already happened will never fully sink in. But I also thought I’d be married with children by now, and I don’t see either in my foreseeable future. Again, I’m fine with it. I’ve learned that life doesn’t always have to follow the script you wrote for yourself years ago.
If you were to ask me, “What do you think your life will look like in 10 years?” I could probably give you a dozen different answers. I have no idea where life will take me in my 30’s, but I’m excited for partake in the journey.
Wherever I end up, I have no doubts there will be that one person responsible for dropping me off at the destination.