A schoolmate lamented in Facebook the isolation he feels as of late towards his peers. He isn’t that old, by the way. He’s just three or four years older than me and pursuing his Masters (or Doctorate?) degree. At the end of his post he concluded that it must be a growing up thing… growing apart, that is. I guess he’s right to some degree: the frequency of seeing friends become less and less by the year as obligations and responsibilities increase and time is a limited commodity which we all strive to make good use of to accommodate priorities and urgencies. Most of the time relationships take the back seat and left there suspended in half-hearted hellos and how-are-yous waiting for the indefinite “next friggin’ time”.
But the thing is, I’ve realized, growing apart only happens conscientiously– friendship is a two-way street. Isolation only happens when you allow it. You either wallow in solitude or go out there and cross the bridge. It is a choice.
Sure, it is inconvenient to make schedules meet. Sometimes, slowing down is as grueling as catching deadlines. It’s not easy but when two people really do make an effort– compromise– for things to happen, they do happen, you know. The ‘next time’ becomes a specific day in the next week or so at a specific place, at a specific time.
I must admit though that there is a kind of comfort in solitude… a sort of contentment in hearing only one’s voice amidst the background noise… something you will not find in the company of people. And you get used to that comfort. It even comes to a point that you begin resenting sincere hellos and how-are-yous and what-have-you-been-up-tos… You get used to the disconnection. You get used to a world consisting of just you and the immediate vicinity around you. What you don’t realize though is that day by day you inch slowly away until you become an isolated island with plenty of broken bridges and only a small canoe.
But when you do, you start paddling.