In my last post, I expressed my distaste for New Year’s Resolutions and resolved to make Life Goals instead. Well here we are, three months into the year, and I must say it feels great not having any resolutions to upkeep. By extending the deadlines for my goals from one year to one lifetime, I feel less pressured to be working on them every day. I feel no guilt in spending three months inactively working towards my goals, because what is three months when I’m going to live until I’m 104 (I really want to live in three different centuries. How’s that for a life goal?)? But I won’t have a blog a century from now (at least I don’t think I will…), so let’s analyse the first quarter of my year.
I told myself at some point in the last six months that I was going to make a greater effort to be social and that I was going to put more effort into my relationships. Because I’m an extremely shy and awkward human being, the whole reaching-out-and-making-new-friends thing didn’t go too well. I’ve met plenty of people in the last six months, but I only consider four of them to be friends. At first, that number really bothered me. ‘I can count my friends on one hand,’ I’d say to myself. ‘How pathetic.’ And then I realised that I was considering quantity and not quality. Each of those persons is wonderfully encouraging and interesting and they are the people I call on a Wednesday night and meet at a bar three hours away on a whim. There are dozens of people whom I have the privilege of enjoying the company of, whom I chat with at work or on the way to class, but these four people became my coffee mates, my drinking buddies, my hiking pals.
So what am I getting at? In previous years, I’ve tended to avoid social interactions for fear of not knowing the right things to say or not fitting in, etc., but the more time I spent with these people, the less I worried about those things. My overall mental health improved. Anxiety was reduced and an overall feeling of joy replaced my former fearfulness. This encouraged me to spend even more time with them, strengthening our relationships further. It encouraged me to reach out to people I had lost contact with and to seek new relationships. My point here isn’t just that having friends is a blessing and I’m so grateful for every person in my life, although that point does pay a lot of rent. I want to emphasise the nowness of it all. For ages, I’d put off facing my discomfort in social settings. I knew for a fact that if I practised at it, I’d eventually become more comfortable, but it was facing the temporary discomfort that pushed me away. So although I still encourage any one reading this to not constrain themselves to a year-long resolution, don’t use the life-long alternate as a fancy way of procrastinating your goals. Because if you keep procrastinating, waiting for some day in the future, eventually you’ll reach your last day and still be waiting. And if you’re like me and are putting off social interaction, you’ll end up spending that last day alone.
Inspired by the ever wonderful Minimalists’ video