I have a very funny relationship with people. Socially, I feel that I often find myself on the periphery, or maybe more accurately, in the world but not of it. I don’t mean to say that I don’t have a solid group of supportive friends, or that I don’t enjoy being around people most of the time. It has never been something I needed at all times, though. Some people need constant interaction with each other or they feel insecure/depressed/bored. I am not one of these people. I am quite comfortable by myself when I need to be. This probably has something to do with the fact that I am an only child and spent many of my formative years growing up in remote places due to my dad’s job. I had to learn to entertain myself or suffer extreme boredom.
Sometimes I get too cocky, though. I start to think I don’t need anyone. I get too independent, and then the universe has a rather irritating habit of slapping me across the face (in a good way). In other words, sometimes I take people for granted, either specific people or just people in general, and this should never happen. It’s at times like this that things are usually shaken up, and I’m turned on my head and pointed in the right direction. Thank you, universe.
In my complicated cosmic view, which I will not detail here, I have always struggled with the concept of determinism (we’ll call it that just for lack of a better term). I think I believe in some sort of half determinism. To clarify, maybe some things do occur because they are meant to, but others just happen randomly. Or maybe everything does happen because it is meant to, and I have absolutely no clue about what I am saying. I do, however, think certain people come into our lives on purpose. Usually because we need a jolt of some sort. Our routines or notions need a bit of a shake up, or, like me, I need to be reminded that people are good to have around. An occasional reevaluation of ourselves is a good, helpful activity, and sometimes another person is able to bring this about when we cannot.
When it happens, it is usually completely unexpected. When we are introduced to someone new, no one ever thinks silently, “Hm…I wonder if my new association with this person is going to cause a complete paradigm shift in my being…” That just doesn’t happen. The realization that this new person is going to affect major, or maybe even slight change in one’s life could come rather quickly or years after the fact.
The promptitude at which this discovery manifests, however, does not really matter. The circumstances in which you meet and subsequently interact with this person and whether or not the encounter is as brief as a day or grows into a fifty year long friendship do not matter either. Well, they matter, but not for my purposes here. What counts is that we recognize the effects this familiarity creates and learn, accept, and grow from them in a positive way.
Something of which I have to remind myself often is that we as a species are naturally social creatures. We have to interact for our survival. It has been proven in numerous psychological studies that young children who are not properly socialized do not develop and grow into healthy adults. In a broader view, we rely collectively, the whole human race, on each other. Civilizations would not have arisen if people had not interacted and formed complex social structures. I think this is why I often get very frustrated with our species as a whole. We need each other, yet we allow so much hate and violence to grow between us. We let petty factors such as race, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation divide us. Think broadly, I mean the big picture, here. These factors really don’t matter. We wrongly allow ourselves to develop a “them” and “us” mentality from such a myopic view. We easily forget that we all share membership in the broadest category of all makes all, humanity. This trumps all of those trivial differences. When viewing it this way, it then seems extremely counter-intuitive to channel so much of our energy toward each other negatively. It is so because we are all cut from the same swath, and we have such a potential to profoundly and positively affect each other.
As I have hinted, I think the universe is a pretty peculiar thing. When we think we have it all figured out, we are reminded we in fact do not. As I see it, there are two truths that govern the universe: A.) Change is constant. There is a good chance that what is today will not be tomorrow, always. B.) We cannot experience anything until we actually do. With these in mind, perhaps then, it is best if we do not dismiss people as quickly as we are often apt to do (myself included). Let’s try to be receptive. I mean, after all, who knows if that guy sitting next to you on the train on the morning commute holds the key to the next revolution in your personal existence.