What is the most important thing to you?
Z E E N
I’ve never been a fan of favourites. I find it hard to tell people what my favourite song, TV show, movie or book is- probably because I find it hard to make a hierarchy of the large pool of things that I like and enjoy. The same applies when people ask what my favourite part of a holiday or experience was as if a couple of weeks can be distilled down to one discrete moment. The same logic probably goes into what I think the most important thing is in my life; genuine human connection. Connection with people, where everyone is free to be completely themselves is a beautiful thing, it shows me I’m not alone, gives me hope and allows me to wonder at humanity’s weird and wonderful diversity. I know that if I’ve had a day where I’ve been stuck to myself, maybe I’ve even been really productive, but I haven’t had one small connection- a quick conversation with one of my flatmates or classmates- it feels like a wasted day. Probably because of that (coupled with a case of serious FOMO), I’m not always the best at prioritising work and sometimes sleep, but I have found that if I make time for people, the buzz from those connections fuels and energises me if I do need to stay up a little later to finish some Uni work.
A big part of moving away from home for me has been learning that my family members ARE ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS that I can learn about and from and connect with- not just objects in a human form, filing some role in my life by virtue of our familial relations. That is not to say that I don’t have arguments or get frustrated when I go home, but it puts a new gloss on my relationship with family members, that even though by definition we are family, we do family by actively seeking to engage and connect with one another and seeing those moments where we are together as precious.
Going forward, the (often daily) challenge for me is to not get caught up on the numbers, how many friends I have and how many people pulled out of coming to my birthday thing, because as a friend told me recently- “that is what is getting thrown at you by the world”. The challenge is not to focus on those interactions that are sometimes super awkward, not to compare how close I am with friends and family members to how close other people are with their friends and family members. To not compare how closely some people connect with God. The challenge is to accept that sometimes I will stuff up. Sometimes people will hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally. Sometimes I won’t feel like going. The challenge is to live in line with what I’ve said is most important to me.
Maya Angelou’s words on this point provide encouragement:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”