During the colourful teenage days, often in broad, noisy society. I was one of the most favourite individuals. I, as an individual, adored groups of other individuals. I used to be happy, laughing, spontaneous, self-confident, satisfied. Until I met this guy named Matt. A few years older. BUT age wasn’t the only difference. He wore a nice, well-fitting dress bearing a rider’s body on his chest – a Ralph Lauren polo. He drove a fast, shiny red car – a Mazda mx7. He exuded the pervasive scent of exotic dancers. He shared photos, stories of his travels to expensive, inaccessible destinations like Las Vegas. There were always crowds of admirers, friends and those who wanted to become his friends. This encounter, this acquaintance, affected me. Suddenly the desire to be like him. Rich. Successful. Good-looking. Attention-grabbing. Popular. Well-known. Of course, over time, that’s changed a bit. Thanks to close friends who didn’t live up to my expectations. Hence the desire to be not only rich, but better than anyone else. The desire to beat everybody. To be admired. To be respected. A strong belief, this is what will make me happy. The truth has become the opposite. On the way to the imaginary summit – the rush, the tension, the stress, the wrinkles on my forehead, the sadness, the pain, the loneliness. I sacrificed all the ordinary things I had then for nothing. Nothing alive.
Now, after many years, a change. So painful, breathtaking to admit I was wrong. All those years of theatre. It didn’t belong to me. That naive notion, the belief that once I will have this and that, something better will happen. When I look at Matt these days, the shine is still there. Clinging to his skeleton. But he’s alone. He’s gotten older. He’s bought new toys, uniforms. Dear Matt, I don’t admire you anymore. I don’t want to be like you anymore. I can have a fancy, fast car, but if it breaks down, I have no one to call to help me. I can have a sprawling ten-bedroom mansion, but I don’t have anyone to fill all those rooms with love. I can wear silk shirts with an animal on the chest, but I don’t have anyone to sincerely compliment how good I look in that shirt. I look up to, I admire those who live in modesty. Those who drive old 20, 25-year-old cars. The ones who wear a million times washed cheap pieces of clothing. Those who live in a large group under one small roof in an unattractive, pigsty building. Those who work in ordinary dirty jobs with no prospect of career growth. Those who are grateful for so little.
I see that the happiest individuals are those who are healthy and surrounded by friends. They don’t have anything flashy. Nothing to catch the shallow eye of a greedy thief. Their only possessions, their greatest assets are health and relationships. Family, friends – community. I want to be like them. I want to feel like them. Like somebody. As part of something. Despite the absence of shiny objects.
PS: THAT doesn’t mean I’m lowering my standards. I’m just lowering my bonds with irrelevant things.