And so, she found herself alone again. Ever since she was a child she thought she had it right. She thought she knew. Do things for love, not money. Everything her parents taught her, all the morals of all the stories she had ever read had all said the same things: Be nice, treat people how you would like to be treated, be the ‘better’ person, and have faith that what goes around comes around.
But as she traveled through life she realized that there was so much more to it. The devil is in the details, and when you are focused in on the small stuff, the world keeps spinning right around you. She did all of the things she though she was supposed to; she got straight A’s in school, was nice and polite as often as possible, respected her elders, and was always concerned with what people would think of her.
She grew up and learned more and more about life. Her perspectives changed. She started to realize that all of the things she had done weren’t getting her anywhere. While she thought she knew enough to choose love, friends, and people over material possessions somehow she was still caught in a trap. While she thought she was doing everything right, she realized that she was completely missing out on her entire life. For some reason she thought that working hard now meant that she could do all the fun things she wanted to do later. But the thing is, later is just that…later.
So many fun, incredible, inspiring, amazing moments went right by her, and she was just not there for them. She was in her head, self-conscious, thinking about how it would be perfect if only __________.
Time went on, and she did what she thought she was supposed to do. She worked. She tried to save, so hard, but continued to live paycheck to paycheck. So she worked some more. She covered shifts when co-workers went surfing, she cooked at home instead of going out for drinks after work, and she rode a bike instead of buying a car. She thought that these were the responsible, “right” things to do. She thought someday, her time would come, and she would be able to travel and explore and not worry about the money it costs to do it.
But what really happened is that everyone thought she was a lame homebody that never wanted to do anything, so they stopped inviting her. They thought that she must just have her own friends and hobbies to keep her occupied, and since she didn’t have a car, it was hard to coordinate activities, so they just let it go. She never seemed to want to spend any money, and so they didn’t want to pressure her to spend more than she could afford. There were never any malicious actions, no hard feelings, but they weren’t going to pry her out of her comfort zone, and it wasn’t their job to anyway.
And so she found herself alone again.
“How could I have let this happen?” she often thought to herself. How could she have been so blind? She was so zoomed in on those stupid little details that she was completely oblivious to the fact that she was choosing money over love. Everything she thought she was doing right was all for some distant future that she might never, ever experience. And even if in that distant future, she had all the resources she needed to travel the world, who would she do it with? What was the point of having beautiful memories if you have no one to share them with? She pictured herself as an old lady putting on slide-shows for her cats. “And here I am in Rome, oh, and that’s me by the Eiffel Tower”…
This growing realization was causing her to become quite depressed. And anxious. Her perspectives continued to change, and she kept learning more and more about life. She realized it was up to her to make a real effort to get out there and make friends. She couldn’t just bum around feeling sorry for herself. She had to put herself out there. But it just wasn’t happening. For all the things she learned in school, all the things she learned about life, and with all the skills she had picked up along the way, she couldn’t think of a single interesting thing to say.
She did everything she was supposed to…actively listened, used inviting body language, smiled a lot, laughed at all the jokes, drank up for social lubrication… and still felt hollow.
Perhaps it was the depression/anxiety/stress, but she started to become disillusioned about the whole social scene. Over time she discovered that she actually had plenty of interesting things to say, important things, but no one else was listening. No one cared. They were all just in their own little worlds, not worrying about body language or whether or not they were making people uncomfortable, or if they were being rude looking at their phones every two seconds. For all the time she spent feeling bored and alone, it was still better than being surrounded by selfish people who were just going to ignore her anyway.
She started feeling like maybe she didn’t even want to be friends with these people. She wanted to surround herself with intrinsically motivated, fun, inspirational people who liked to actually do stuff, not people who just sit around watching t.v. and go to bars and don’t care about anything but themselves. She wanted to walk through nature marveling at all the beautiful little bits of it, not talk shit about irrelevant B.S. She wanted someone to do arts and crafts with, not someone who can’t stop talking about all the great projects they’re doing.
And so, she found herself alone again.
Wrapped up in her own mind, trying to unravel it to keep it open to the possibilities, she found it was best swaddled up in it’s little blanket of thoughts. She thought she was doing it all according to plan. It just wasn’t her plan. It was hard to comfort that brain as it swam around in stress hormones, wondering when exactly she let worries about money break her connection to humanity. Or perhaps humanity broke the connection with itself…no service I guess.