You know how some tiny moments stick with you? These incidental little snapshots that nobody else would ever notice, but you can tell would be featured in the movie of your life. One of my many moments featured my much younger self playing around with a bunch of action figures. I’m sure War Machine was battling Ultra Magnus at some kind of fighting tournament to decide the fate of the world. Punch combos were thrown, with the verbal accompaniment of “DOOSH DOOSH DOOSH. BWAAAAA” or whatever onomatopoeic scoring I managed. My dad was on the front porch, smoking a cigarette. He looked through my window and smiled. After the tournament had finished (in total bloodshed from a rogue T-Rex stepping in to handle these upstarts), I went out to talk to my dad. “I’m always impressed at how you manage to play all by yourself.” He said. “Not everyone can do that.” I swelled with pride. For all I know, dad just couldn’t be fucked hanging out and was giving me incentive to shuffle off. In my eight year old state though, I immediately went back to my room and created some new scenario. Playing all by myself I could do anything, be anywhere.
If this was a movie we’d move onto act two. Time would skip 20 years into the future and the soundtrack would kick right in.
I spend a fair amount of time on my own. That’s not to say I’m a loner by any means. As a diehard narcissistic extrovert, I feed off the attention of others. A bunch of my social time is spent with my girlfriend and we have a whole community of shared friends around us. We go to parties, events and find all sorts of ways to keep the dating energy alive. Outside that, I find many of my evenings involve sitting in front of the internet, procrastinating about this very thing you’re reading. I have a few close friends who I try to spend one on one time with, but this one on one time might be once every few weeks. When it all boils down to it that’d mean aside from my girlfriend, I’m probably only hanging out with a single other person a few times per month. This is something that hit me yesterday when trying to schedule time to hang out with a close friend. Realising that “checking my schedule” meant “finding nights where my girlfriend isn’t free” gave me pause and caused me to reframe how things are going.
See, this couldn’t be further from my arrival in Canada and rightfully so. I left home out of a fear that I was getting complacent, boring, predictable. I was afraid that I was settling way too soon and stifling the kind of behaviour that’d help me grow. I got here and started relentlessly pursuing anything that sounded interesting. Music festivals? Hell yeah! A Breaking Bad trivia evening? Of course. Beach raves and comedy gigs, themed dance events and anything nerdly? I jumped on it Sugarhill Gang style. I’d talk to strangers and listen, I’d swap numbers and follow up. I made friends and found people. I thrived like a malignant growth, spreading myself all across the city.
I’ve realised that I need to branch out again. I love my girlfriend but she agrees, we each need to start putting ourselves out there and pursuing our own separate interests. To make more friends, have experiences and come back together in the evening with things to chat about. Especially now that we’re gonna be living together, there’s so much potential for home life to be developmentally stifling. It’s so intoxicating to want to spend time with one another constantly, but there’s a myriad of exciting opportunities out there that we’re both missing out on. There’s the danger of losing ourselves in each other and that only leads to resentment down the road. I want to have things to tell people when they ask “so what have you been up to?” That takes effort and effort is what I need. I learned it way back in act one, right? I can do anything and be anywhere, but that’s on me.
Plus, how many more of these moments are waiting around a corner for me?