We all focus intensively on the plots of our lives.
We agonize over decisions. We obsess over possible promotions. We line our ducks up in a row, convincing ourselves that if we can only get the circumstances right, we are guaranteed bountiful happiness.
But there’s one important factor that we tend to forget about when we are planning out the details of our futures:
No matter how enticing the plot, people will always be at the heart of any story worth telling.
Five years from now, you won’t remember the color of your first office cubicle. You won’t remember the reports you filed, the tasks you accomplished or the nights when you went to bed early and got a respectable amount of sleep.
Ten years from now, you’ll have forgotten about all the shitty days. You won’t remember the test you failed or the interview you bombed or the underwhelming date that left you feeling pessimistic about the dating scene as a whole.
What you’ll remember are the people who turned it all around. The ones you called crying at midnight, the ones who showed up at your doorstep with wine bottles, the ones who swept you away on new adventures and turned even your worst days into some of the most brilliant.
You’ll remember the friends who were there for you. The ones who stuck by your side when others left, who lifted your spirits when they were crushed, who stood by you through every breakup and makeup and new opportunity and regret.
You’ll remember the people who made your life magnanimous, even when your circumstances seemed desperate and impossible.
Because the best stories always circle back to the people who make them up. The plot takes form from all the ways in which the characters redeem themselves. How they redeem each other. How they choose love and understanding and strength, despite everything that gets in the way.
And in order to get to those sweet spots in the story, we need each other. We need to push each other, to challenge each other, to conflict and resolve and support each other’s growth.
Because at the end of the day, it’s other people who set the genre of our lives. Who change our story from a tragedy to a comedy. From a drama to a redemption film. From a horror story into a romance – with a bit of pornography thrown in on the good days.
Maybe the best we can possibly hope for isn’t that our stars align and our plot lines play out as they’re meant to.
Maybe we should aim to stack our lives up with some damn good characters.
Because if we can manage to find those, the rest of the story writes itself.