I just got back from a nice, week and a half long trip to Turkey and France. It was the perfect trip: I was able to perfectly fuse business with pleasure. I first went to Turkey to take care of a project I am working on and then flew over to Paris for the weekend to do some relaxing and to taste the local produce (wink-wink).
Going alone to Turkey, I was set up in a room at a large, all-inclusive, 5-star resort placed right on the waters of the Mediterranean sea — beautiful. I had set up my schedule in a way that allowed for me to attend all the meetings I needed to attend in the morning and early afternoon, giving me each evening off. While I consider the trip to have been a success, I did come to one important conclusion while in Turkey: living alone is no way to live.
I had finished up with the work for the day and decided to grab my book, Jonas Jonasson’s "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" — which is a great, fun read by the way — and went to sit outside on one of the resort’s decks with a few drinks. After a couple dozen pages and a handful of cocktails, I thought it would be a good idea to take a nice walk around the grounds.
Maybe it was the cool sea breeze or the cloudy sky that loomed over me — most likely it was the nice buzz I had from downing all that liquor — whatever the catalyst, I noticed that although I was in a beautiful place during a great period in my life, I wasn’t content. It didn’t make sense to me at first. I had no reason at all not to be happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to find myself and if I had 99 problems, I couldn’t think of a single one.
That’s when I took a look around and noticed the one thing that was missing from my environment. I realized that the one thing that, although often at times is overlooked, is one of the most crucial necessities in life. No matter where you are, what you are doing and under what circumstances you are doing them, if you have no one to share your experiences with, then they do not matter one bit.
Here I was surrounded by beauty, drinking fruity drinks and eating delicious food and all I wished for was to have my friends with me to share it all with. We most often do not give due importance to the relationships we have with our close friends and take them being present for granted; only once we find ourselves on our own, in an unknown place, surrounded by strangers are we hit with the fact that living on our lonesome is, well, lonely.
We take the time to plan our future, plan where we will be living, in what house, in what town. We take the time to consider what careers we would like to have and how much money we would like to make. We figure out the when, where and how, but fail to consider with whom. Living a life of solitude in a villa in the south of France is just as lonely as living a life of solitude in the projects in the Bronx.
No matter where you are, how wealthy you are, what title you hold or what power you wield, if you do not have people you care about, people that you love around you, then what’s the point of it all? In the end, you won’t so much remember what you saw and what you did, but rather the conversations you had, the memories you shared with others and all the dumb things you did with your friends. Doing dumb things with friends is fun; doing dumb things alone is just dumb.
Imagine yourself ten years down the line. What will your life be like? Most of us Generation-Yers will undoubtedly picture ourselves married and even possibly with children. But whom else will you have in your life? When considering the career that you want and where you want your mansion or your penthouse to be located, do you also consider what friends you will be seeing on the regular?
Who will you be spending your weekends with? Who will you be shooting hoops with or going out for drinks with? Who are you going to go complain to about how your wife’s nagging or your husband’s laziness? Who are you going to bitch to about your daughter’s new Goth boyfriend? Who are you going to tell about how much your partner and family mean to you and who will you down a bottle of tequila with in honor of how awesome your life played out to be?
We spend so much time planning who will be in the closest proximity to the center of our lives, but overlook those in the background working to support us when we need support the most. The person you marry is just as important as those attending your wedding. Personally, I came to the conclusion that I don’t really care where I am or what I am doing as long as I have my handful of closest friends there along for the ride.
For many of you I am certain that this is common sense — second nature. I grew up a lone wolf, spending most of my time worrying about myself. So maybe you can’t level with my way of thinking. But I am sure I am not the only one that has focused on myself for so long that all those cast in supporting roles have been drowned out by the egocentric thoughts in the foreground. Keep those you love and have a good time with close to you; finding yourself alone and stranded is not something you want to be fated for. We may die alone, but there is no reason we ought to live alone too.
Photo courtesy HBO