"Part of adulthood is searching for the people who understand you." Hanya Yanagihara

Adulthood can be lonely. In the pursuit of our passions we often sacrifice connection to others, but at what cost. Life is about connection - relationship, proximity, care, love. Without those things what is the purpose of life, and yet still we find ourselves adrift, aloof, and away from all those we've forged connections too before. We're all looking for something, but what could we be searching for that continues to evade us? We are looking for those who understand us, and even more so to be understood. We want to be around people get us, experience us the way we want them to, see us for who we are, and celebrate us in our imperfect actuality. We want those who want to hear our life stories from cover to cover, who will take notes in the margins, and resonate with the characters. We strive for people who see us transparently and yet remain despite what they see. We want people who are invested in us, and willing to do the substantive work of figuring us out. We want people who will stay especially when we're complicated, conflicted, and challenging. 

Sometimes we find people who understand us in others, and sometimes others help us find that we've been looking for within ourselves. It takes being around people to figure out the kind of people we want in our lives. We can come to the realization that the people that we have long yearned for have been right next to us all along, and other times we see the way we are with some people - it's those folks that we need in our lives. There are people who play different roles in our lives - some people are sustained connections while others deposit something valuable into our lives and leave. No matter what, it's up to glean what we can from all those we can. Those life lessons are invaluable. We take what we can and in that sense of empowerment we may no longer need them for the part that they have played in our development. That's okay. There's an autonomy that comes with that independence, but it also comes with a task of passing on those lessons to others. We not meant to keep the understanding that those who have left us have bestowed upon us, we're meant to light our own fires, and use that light to show the ways to others. 

How do you know who you're supposed to be around? It's about how others make us feel. For me, it's this feeling of pure euphoric peace. It's the absence of my incessant nervous anxiousness. I'm just present and comfortable. I'm not scared for once, or constantly worried about being weird or embarrassing. I'm just there, and nothing and nowhere else. I'm fully present, and glad to be where I am. It's this easy kind of way of being. It's effortless, painless, and devoid of pretense. I know the feeling because it is such a rarity. It's this weightlessness where I'm just grateful to be in the company of all those around me. It might feel different for different people. That feeling that is hard to come by so when we do feel we have to take note, internalize it, and be prepared to chase it down to no end. Those people that you just fit with. The people that challenge you to be better, give you space to be vulnerable, and expect you to be genuine with them - that's who we should be looking for. People who push us forward, never hold us back, and that don't dwell on our past - they are it. People who shine light, give us hope, and hold us accountable - those are the people we should hold on to.

It's so important to sit in our emotions and embrace our feelings. We don't do it often enough. We don't let it all wash over us and for us to relish in it. We don't marinate or meditate with what we're experiencing enough. If we did, we would realize some powerful truths about ourselves, and our connections to other people. It's when we take the time to just be completely entrenched in how other people impacted us, made us feel, and treated us that we come to know the significance of their presence in our lives. It should not take someone's impending departure for us to gain the gumption to tell them what they have meant to us. We have to be proactive, courageous, and consistent in expressing our appreciation for those who make the effort to understand us. It's in our demonstration of gratitude that we fully get to experience what understanding and being received as understood feels like. Tell people how you feel about them, often, early, repeatedly, genuinely. Not just for their sake but our own. In our quest to find others, know that others may be looking for us - and that is beautiful paradox of the most human proportions. X


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