Some of us are built to be social. We’re just wired that way. In need of constant interaction. Some of us need to be around friends, have relationships at all times, everything we do or say is always influenced by someone around us. We crave companionship of one kind or the other – sometimes half-assed, sometimes meaningful. Every action is in collaboration, unison and therefore safely within the limits of collective consensus. Very rarely a unique or individualistic act. We simply cannot function in isolation. Enjoying ones own company, for a change, becomes near impossible.
Unfortunately or fortunately, Im not made that way. Problem is, I assume that is the norm with most other people too. So every time someone sacrifices a personal preference to go with the herd, Im surprised. Every time someone forgoes a long-cherished desire and gives into common wants, Im alarmed. And every time someone I estimate is a truly individualistic person turns out to be another rat in the rat-race, I am saddened. And each time, I am reminded that that perhaps this is the norm. That is the way most people are. Stuck in a social trap, following the beaten track, very much inside the box. And they’re happy to be that way.
But sometimes that realization comes tinged with disappointment. Of having wrongly judged someone to be a true follow-your-spirit kind of guy, only to realise he’s just another one of them. I have always been a reclusive sort. Choosing my own company over the pack. Choosing fewer like minded friends over a large circle where I have to just blend in. The latter has always meant losing a bit of myself and gelling in and all my life I have steered clear of crowds and cliques.
Perhaps that’s why I have learnt to enjoy my own company. And I have become more observant of people and their behaviour. More attuned and sensitive. Somewhat overly emotional about it too. Because when I make estimations of people, and they turn out to be not quite what I imagined, it comes as a rude shock. But I have realized there is another factor to it. Age. Swallowing my pride of being young and yuppie, I realize that I have outgrown the kind of company I am surrounded by. Because in the few times that I have been sucked into group activities, I have been disappointed because it always falls so, so short of what I expect for myself.
So what is it then? Have we forgotten what it is to enjoy some quietude? Some time away from the din? The madding crowd. Have we forgotten what it is to know ourselves? Are we so afraid to be alone, that we have forgotten who we really are?