This journey is so strange. We’re all following our individual paths & have to work out our own shit in our own time. But there is absolutely no way to do that alone. In the words of Douglas Rushkoff, we’re all out there alone, together. Or… all together out there, alone. Nobody can live this life for us. But at the same time, we can’t live this life without feeling some kind of connection to others.
I was reminded of this today in so many ways. I have not been blessed with children of my own, but I got to spend a good portion of my day celebrating the first birthday of my godson. This little, incredible, charming, happy, cuddly, smiley, smart, full-of-life dude — he’s so awesome! I have a hard time putting into words what he has brought into my life. When I think of the things that bring me joy, he’s at the top of my list. He’s so warm and trusting and snuggly and smells just like a baby should. I’m smiling even as I write this, because he’s just a bundle of ooey-gooey love (even when he’s fussy). I know my life is better because he’s a part of it. And when I’m with him, I realize that I NEED that time. I need to snuggle, I need to have that human experience of holding tightly to someone I love and just rocking, breathing, smiling, hugging, sneaking chubby-cheek kisses, marveling at this tiny little human person who will grow up knowing he’s loved.
And then this evening rolled around and I spent some time with friends talking, laughing, grabbing each other’s hands & arms to emphasize how hilarious something was, throwing our heads back and cackling at the most-inappropriate things we shared with each other. But still, human touch was present. And so important. Crucial, even. That connection was central to our night together, emphasizing how important it is to fuse together with others. To share pieces of you and appreciate pieces of others and bond together over ridiculousness. To be human, to be whole, we need this connection.
And then I got home. And all I wanted to do was to share the hilariousness-ness (hilariosity?) of my night with… well, let’s call him a special person in my life. Yes, my dogs were all up in my business as they usually are when I come home — and let us not discount how important it is to have these little furry monsters who want nothing more than to love you 24/7 as a part of your everyday existence — but I still yearned for that human connection. Interestingly, however, I spent some time wondering if that was a bad thing. I am an independent, whole, happy, fulfilled, self-sufficient, content person, after all! I shouldn’t *need* to share my day with someone else. Am I seeking validation somehow? By admitting that I want to hear this person’s voice before I call it a night, am I admitting defeat in some way? Am I putting my happiness in someone else’s hands? Yikes. But as I meditated on this I realized something: seeking connection with others is human. It’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s not something to hide. Does it mean I’m codependent? Nope. Does it mean I’m not a strong, independent, capable person? Nope. Does it mean that I’m weak or lacking or unable to function without this person in my life? Nope. What it does mean is that, as a human person, I find joy in sharing my happy moments with people I care about. I get gratification from talking to this one other specific human who might also get some joy out of my experience. Who just might be happy for me that I had such a fun night. Who could potentially magnify my happiness by caring about my human experience. This specific person may not always be a part of my story, but that doesn’t matter. Because right now, in this moment, he is. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to show snapshots of my life, share joyful moments, telling tales of Erin. Right now, I connect with this person. And that is a miracle. The fact that we found each other in this time when we clearly needed each other is miraculous. What the universe does from here is anyone’s guess. And that’s not for me to know. But the lesson is still there: we are meant to connect with other human people. Sometimes it’s totally random or fleeting or strange or unexpected, but it’s part of the plan.
I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that we were meant to share our individual journeys with others. Friends, family, spouses, significant others, colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors. We crave empathy. We need to know we’re not alone. We require some form of connection. Holding a baby, grabbing a friend’s hand, hearing the voice of someone you love on the phone. Moments of connection. Hello, you beautiful thing!
Connect with others, friends. Especially in those moments where you feel like retreating. No man is an island.