This past weekend I had an epiphany of sorts. I flew out to visit family with my sister. Usually these family visits would include our mother, are almost always very brief and rushed, and I always try to make time to do something that I want to do such as see a friend or go to a particular store or cafe. These side activities I do with at least a cousin so I feel I'm still fulfilling my duty of spending time with family while doing what I want, but in that time I am away from the vast majority I supposedly came to see. Allow me to express that I love my family, from the depths of my heart, regardless of how we may differ. Their joy brings me joy and their grief brings me grief; genuine, no-strings-attached love. I have a character flaw in that I want to do too many things with too many people and I never seem to sort myself out well enough to give everyone their due, but don't you dare decide for me - with force - what to do or who to see. I believe I know well enough to fulfill my duties towards the people in my life, but in reality knowing is not enough. I don't do much of what I know I should do. The thought would cross my mind and at that moment I would just rather be doing something else so I put it in the back of my mind. In the words of Mr. Lamar: Bitch, don't kill my vibe.
I've always asked myself whether I am too preoccupied with the pursuit of fun that I am not able to appreciate other things life has to offer. I don't know what happened this past weekend, but I think I managed to crack the case. I managed to spend quality time with the people I loved and have fun doing it. And true to form it was brief and rushed but at least it happened. I came back home with a euphoric feeling, in addition to missing them all immensely. And I realized what made this trip different was that I was more present; my mind wasn't thinking about being back at work in a couple days or that fight I had with my friend before I left or that thing I had to do for my mom when I got back.
That's when it hit me; the pursuit of fun is merely a distraction. Although it is easy to be present when you are having fun, it's not easy being present all the time or even most of the time, especially during those not-so-pleasant times. It's not that you shouldn't seek to have fun, by all means enjoy yourself! But enjoy the other moments too. Even in times of sorrow, reaching out to someone in their time of need with something as simple as a brief phone call is a moment, enjoy it! Even if you don't know what to say and how to act, be present and let it be genuine, enjoy it! So long as you have the right intentions, I am almost certain whoever is before you will sense that and appreciate it. With every moment, there is potential for connection. Human connection is so vital and we are so starved that we need it from wherever we can find it. Genuine human interactions with genuine emotions. It could be something as simple as complimenting the guy behind the check-out counter on his funky glasses, or laughing with the random woman on the street whose dog decided to sit down in the middle of the road. Just know how much to give to each person.
Don't give too much to those who don't deserve it. Be kind, be polite, be considerate, be friendly, but the real stuff, the go-out-of-your-way-to-make-them-smile stuff is not for everyone. I have reached a point in my life where if I don't believe you deserve certain things of me; I ain't gonna do it. It is such a liberating feeling. And this varies from person to person. One person I would jump through hoops to find the exact kind of chocolate they love, with another person the rope ends at casual conversation when we accidentally bump into each other at the mall. It's nothing personal. All are nice people, but not all nice people deserve my all. Just because I know you and you are a nice person, does not mean I need to remember to wish you a happy birthday every year (for example). Social obligations got too much for me and I could not keep track. So I got sick of feeling guilty for neglecting people in my life who I genuinely did not have the time of day to even think about, nor should I make time! Although I do like these people, and it would please me to see them, I'm just not gonna go out of my way to do it because simply put, I owe them nothing. Others though, I owe them everything. It's a pretty wide spectrum, to the point you could categorize people depending on how close they are. The spectrum is flexible; over time people can move along the spectrum in either direction. It's like a live document that needs regular updating. A good way to look at it is this; if something amazing happened to you, who would you want there to celebrate with you? Even then, who would you want to spend all night on the dance floor with and who do you only want for a dance or two? I genuinely believe that the people who matter in your life most - depending on life circumstances - will almost always be right there for you when it counts, or at least will always want to be there for when life simply does not permit it.
“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” ― Karl Lagerfeld
Apologies for the digression. Good night for now.