We love to act as though people aren’t important.
In fact, we’ve built society up around this notion.
We tell each other to put off relationships until our careers are fully established. To stay in on weekends to save money and time. To remain cool and detached toward others because any weakness displays the chance to be taken advantage of.
We have downplayed the role of human interaction to the point where it is nothing but an afterthought – we move to a new city and figure ‘Well, I should make some new friends.’ We start a new job and figure ‘Going out with coworkers would be advantageous to my career.’
We tell ourselves that connection’s not important. We tell ourselves that our lives are all our own.
But there’s a particular trend I have noticed that seems to correlate strongly with our generation’s rejection of community.
Catch almost any 20-something in a brutally honest moment and they’ll echo the same sentiment – that they’re lacking in love and affection. They’re aching for community and closeness. They are searching for the very sort of love and belonging that makes us the absolute most human – as much as we loathe to admit it.
Because when it all boils down to it, our lives are only as good as the people we have in them.
No matter how successful we are, how much money we make, how inspired or impassioned or accomplished we become, our lives are meaningless if they’re spent alone.
We need people to celebrate our victories with. We need friends to see us through our greatest failures. We need people who can fill our lives with laughter even through their hardest chapters and those who can enrich the times of triumph with enthusiasm, love and encouragement. We need people who understand us fully. We need to feel as though we’re needed in return.
The truth about this life that we’re living is that it was never meant to be spent alone. From our earliest days on earth, humans have been coming together to support each other, grow with each other, learn from each other and complete each other. We are greater than the sum of our parts. We are stronger as a group than we could ever be standing alone.
And yet somehow, we’ve managed to forget this.
Because at the end of the day, life is never going to be as sweet standing alone as it is when we’re surrounded by others. Our highs are never going to seem quite as high as when we’re celebrating with people who love us. Our lows are never going to be quite as low as when we are facing them all on our own.
So much of our pain can be lessened through love. So many of our strengths can be harnessed through connection.
And when we look back at our lives and accomplishments, it will always be the people who stand out. We’ll remember who made us laugh when the world got too absurd to comprehend. We’ll remember who picked us up when we were all but falling apart. We’ll remember the triumphs we celebrated alongside the people we could never replace and we’ll remember the failures that we saw each other through.
We’ll remember our loved ones, long after we’ve forgotten all of the noise of our successes.
At the end of the day, our lives can be plentiful, bountiful, successful, impressive and accomplished while we’re living them alone.
But the quality of our lives is always going to be measured by the people we have in them.
Whether we care to admit that or not.