I find it confusing when I ask myself how much responsibility I have for my own happiness.
Today, I was perusing some subreddits on some activities I was engaged with in the past, and I was saddened by how I no longer participate in these activities because I no longer have the friends with whom to engage in these activities. It was a reminder of how I moved to a new city, and how some activities were left behind.
I typically try not to reminisce on memories because I find that doing so makes me sad. I try having a distinct separation between activities I do with friends and activities I do alone, as to not remind myself of my past friends when I do things alone. As a result, a lot of the activities I do now are self-guided, not requiring friends with whom to share the experience.
There are social activities and non-social activities. By nature, social activities require friends (although there was a time in my life where I engaged in social activities without friends, and in retrospect that was quite unenjoyable). My current social sphere isn’t as diversified as my social sphere at other periods in my life. There are some friends with whom I can engage in certain activities, but not all my friends want to engage in all the activities in which I want to engage. I am saddened by how certain social activities are relegated to my past because I no longer have the infrastructure to participate in them.
Whenever our environment changes, we have to create new social systems to replace old ones. This, unfortunately, is not a fun process. On one hand, I would like to make some friends as quickly as possible in order to participate in the activities I want to participate in. On the other hand, I find making friends be quite a painful process where compatibility is quite difficult to achieve, and I’m not sure how to make friends in a new city other than to just introduce myself to people on the street, which is quite weird.
The scary part about adulthood is that I’m becoming more and more content with spending time by myself. Activities I previously thought were boring are quite interesting to me now. I spend most of my days either studying finance or working out or making music. I don’t feel the same need to spend every waking moment of my time with someone else, and I think it shows in how little I actively put myself “out there”.
The attitude I have now is simple. If I happen to make friends, I’ll spend time with my friends. If I don’t, then I’ll just get my CFA, finish my album, and do whatever else that requires consistent alone time for a long period in time.
I find engaging in friendship to be an exercise in present-ness. When you are spending time with your friends, you are deriving pleasure from the experience of shared intimacy at a particular moment of time. The experience resides in the experience itself, whereas activities derived from internal motivation have an intertemporal nature to them. Knowledge sourced in one period of time can still be accessed in another period of time, subject to depreciation from forgetfulness, of course. Art created in one period of time still exists in all future periods of time. However, experiences shared with friends — via activity — start and end in the same period of time as they are experienced.
You could make the argument that although experiences are temporary, friendship can exist in multiple periods of time. Friendship could be conceived as an investment, but I doubt that is the primary motivation for engaging in friendship. Friendship exists and continues to exist as long as there is a desirable quality found within the interactions of friendship. There is an element of creation, but creation in friendship isn’t exactly tangible in the same way that it is in art. Creation, in friendship, seems more like an afterthought to experiences experienced in friendship. The motivation for pursuing friendship is still derived from the activities engaged in friendship and not from the creation of friendship itself.
I miss the time in my life when I had the option to choose how I want to spend my time. Optimizing my life is so much more interesting when I have choices, when social activities are a compelling substitute to non-social activities. I’m sure I’ll have that again in my life at some point in the future, but I wish I didn’t have to wait through this cycle to get there.