I went to pick my brother up from school today, and as I was waiting I noticed a sign hanging in the hallway. The sign read Friendship Lane, which is fitting for an elementary school hallway, but it stuck out to me, and the more I thought about it the more it bothered me. As kids, friendship is shoved down our throats every minute of every day-- which is good. We should be encouraged to be kind to one another and gain friendships through that kindness, but they never tell you how it feels to have a kind heart and no one to share it with.
I've always struggled with the idea of friendship. I've struggled with how simple it seems to be for so many people and how foreign it is to me. The world is made up of different cliques, and I love it. I love that the world is made up of different people with different interest and passions; it's the beauty of humanity. But sometimes I feel like I'm watching the world from outside a window, like everyone is on the inside and I'm out in the cold, making friends with the clouds of my breath while watching the whole world find warmth within each other.
There's a yearning deep inside me for something that so many people have and effortlessly maintain. Friendship. Having a best friend has always always been a desire of mine, having someone who loves me without sharing the same DNA as I is something so appealing to me yet so foreign at the same time. My whole life has been a search for finding my other half rather than focusing on making myself whole.
I think a lot of us are terrified of truly knowing ourselves, so we constantly surround ourselves with other people. I've been incredibly envious of those who have found where they belong, who have found an escape from this painful world but I've always felt incredibly sad for those people as well. Though having lifelong friendships and relationships to escape your own life is beneficial, it also can be damaging to your growth as an individual.
I encourage everyone to take the time to try to get to know yourself. Get to know the parts of yourself you wish you could change, dig deep into the beautiful mess of who you are and find the incredible treasures God has placed in you. Take a break from the group chats and the movie nights and plop yourself down on the couch with a large pizza, Netflix, and your own uninterrupted thoughts.
Become acquainted with the sound of your own laughter as it bounces off the walls of your room while you watch The Office, feel the sensation of a tear slowly dancing down your cheek as you let yourself cry at The Notebook. Begin to find comfort in being alone instead of being terrified of becoming lonely. Society often confuses the act of being alone with the feeling of being lonely. Don't let society trick you; find out the difference between the two yourself.
I have spent a lot of time alone, and at first I hated it. I--like many others-- was terrified of being lonely, of growing up alone and dying alone but if you really think about it, whether you're surrounded by people every moment of your life, you still grow up alone and die alone. Sounds cynical I know, but what I mean is even if you've had a best friend since birth, that person is never going to truly know what it feels like to be you, and most likely you guys will die at different times or different places.
So to grow is to know who you were, who you are and you want to be and YOU are the only person who truly knows those things. So take a break from the constant search of belonging and begin to realize that there's so much more to life than finding someone to share it with! I promise you, you will find out how much you're worth if you take the time to be alone.
Go out to dinner alone and embrace the feeling of staring at the empty chair across from you and not feeling empty yourself. Take a drive by yourself and feel the uneven earth beneath your tires, feel the earth's breath as you roll down your window and let the wind hit your face. Absorb the beauty of the falling sun as it says goodnight to the sky, take it all in without anyone by your side. Let yourself breathe, let yourself believe that there is something more to be felt and to be seen then what society has shown us.
If you're reading this and you never found "your group", if you never had a best friend or if you simply feel disconnected from the world and everyone in it, please know you are not alone. I have felt everything you're feeling and there is hope and there is light, but only when you realize that you may never find where you belong. Sounds confusing I know, but once you accept you may never belong, you can stop letting it consume you. You can finally stop searching for your other half and focus on making yourself completely whole.
There are so many things in this world and we tend to focus on the few things we don't have, and it's a tragedy. We are gluttonous at heart, and we want everything this world has to offer. But the key to life is to learn how to love the things you have and to learn to accept the thing you don't. No matter what, you will always have yourself. So why don't we start focusing on loving the various things that make us who we are and let everything else fall into place?
The sun still rises in the morning whether you have a great group of friends, whether you're in love or heartbroken. The earth still turns and life goes on living, don't miss a single second of it. You are what you love, not who loves you.