I’m writing this post on the eve of my departure to move in with yet another friend in a temporary arrangement as I seek to find a suitable place to live in what seems to be a recurring theme in my life (laughs). Once more, I am insurmountably helped by a friend, someone who was until recently an acquaintance of mine, that serves to slightly relieve the uncomfortableness surrounding the situation of once more being “on the move.” This kind act, and all of the past ones that I have fortunately benefited from thanks to loved ones, cannot be understated in my view. Resultantly, I can confidently extrapolate the following statement: without my family and friends, I would not be where I am or who I am today.
For lack of a better phrase, I do realize that I may not lead such a “normalized” lifestyle of sorts. For example, I would place the approximate count as to the number of times I have moved since graduating from high school at 30. In each successive move, I gradually shed many possessions that I owned in the past (mainly through donations), from old computers to clothing that I no longer wore. I quite literally live out of a suitcase now, my possessions and assets have been filtered down to categories of clothing, several electronics devices, and a toiletry bag. As of now, my most expensive possession is the laptop from where I am typing this very blog entry. In effect, and broadly speaking, I have traded material capital for social capital. I’ve invested more heavily in the “assets” of experiences, family, and friends (read: plane tickets) over “hard” assets (read: cars and houses).*
Perhaps more than I may think, my movements have been dictated strongly by circumstance(s). Yet, be it the bias of my human condition as it may, I would still maintain that a significant portion of my life outcome emanates from the decisions I made in the past, which have been made possible through my family and friends. Given all of the pros and cons of my lifestyle choice, I can say that I would not have done it any other way (for all all intents and purposes I do not know how to really). Certainly I do question why I put myself through such hardship and push myself out of my comfort zone so often, at times to the upper thresholds of my breaking point. For the record, I’ve lived on the couches of friends in different countries (e.g. France and Korea) for weeks on end, and in the spare bedroom of so many family and friends that I have lost count.
As is evoked in the article “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy,” pursuing a life free of worry that is characterized by the procurement of easily obtainable pleasures is markedly different than a meaningful life wherein contribution to others (“giving” vs. “taking”) is regularly practiced, inherent, and a central tenant in making choices in one’s life; otherwise said: being aware of others vs. thyself. However, I do somewhat disagree with the article as I do not believe that happiness and meaningfulness are not necessarily at odds — mutually exclusive so to say — with one another, and that there is certainly overlap in the practical realities that make up our day-to-day lives. However, the argument is very valid in my view and resonates deeply with me.
Similarly, I do strongly agree with the following:
“Don’t give to get. Give to inspire others to give.” (Source)
I attempt to give to my friends and family whenever possible. This is because the vital nature of a family and friends, the social support system, is universal and applies to everybody and in all dimensions of life: financial, health & well-being, love and overall meaningfulness in life.
Without my family and friends, my life would simply not be as enjoyable nor mean as much. I wouldn’t have anybody to share the joys of life with, nor anybody to console/grieve with during the low points. True family and friends are not simply there for the positive moments, they are the ones who will be with you during times of need.
I have been in need and helped many times, thereby confirming my understanding that the most important assets in life are indeed family and friends. Everything else is secondary.
* I am by no means clamoring for others to follow such a lifestyle, nor will I necessarily lead such a life in the future.