I have a lot of time to think on this trip. That was part of the goal. But thinking doesn’t always lead in the directions that I expect them to. Because while I knew that I would be alone a lot on this trip, I didn’t expect to feel quite so lonely as I do sometimes. That got me thinking about friends, the ones that are still around, the ones that I don’t see, and the ones that are still around but I don’t see them anyway.
I have a habit of losing touch with people. A lot of that is my fault, in direct and indirect ways–I am often difficult to contact and often slow to respond; I don’t enjoy many commonly enjoyable things as much as other people enjoy them, so people stop inviting me to those things; I don’t organize events to do those things that I personally find most enjoyable, nor do I seek out people who enjoy the same; I am a very intense person, which can be either interesting or tiresome, depending on my mood and others; I keep people at a distance, partly because they don’t meet my sometimes very high standards that I myself don’t meet. And of course other reasons; my list of flaws is both long and varied.
I think that I want to be the kind of person that has lots of friends, although I’m not sure what I would do if that were actually true. But instead of friends I have many acquaintances. They are people that would recognize me on the street if they saw me and would probably stop to say hello, or who have liked more of my Facebook posts than they have spoken words to me in the last year. They generally have a positive impression of me, but wouldn’t think to invite me to see a concert with them, or go to their wedding.
So I’m trying to reach out to people more. It can feel awkward, especially since I don’t have an excuse to talk to them, and there’s no real reason I stopped. But I’m trying to just ignore that feeling, to treat it as something not worthy. Part of why I’m here is that I too often take the path of least resistance, rather than risk embarassment or rejection. I’ve had a thought on this trip that I think other people like me more than I like myself. It’s a weird thing to think, but I think it’s true. It helps to remind myself of that sometimes.
So generally my experience has been positive. People have been especially generous to me on this trip, offering a place to stay to someone they havn’t seen in almost a decade. Others have been warm about the idea, but nothing really pans out, either do to bad timing, or, at least as often, my own failure to follow through. And others have ghosted me. I guess that’s what it feels like to be on the other end. Now to keep pushing through.
One thought on “Northern Trip – Week 2: Thinking Time”
What you’re doing is hard, this experiment in discovery–self and otherwise. I think your insights are fairly spot on, but am worried that if you look inward for too long you’ll get a distorted sense of who you are. It’s really easy to begin seeing only flaws if you look at anything too closely for too long.