I only have a handful of people I would consider friends. I have a myriad of acquaintances, colleagues and people orbiting my social circle, but there are probably only about two or three that I would consider as chums, pals or mates.
Seeing as I hold this small group in the highest regard, it would be safe to assume that I would be in contact with them far more than the other individuals that are involved in my life.
That would be a mistaken assumption however. We probably speak about four to five times in a year, and actually seeing each other involves checking schedules months in advance for a tiny sliver of opportunity. It is a logistical nightmare.
Luckily enough, my cycle synched with one of my friends last week, and for the first time in half a year, we were able to catch up. The main difference between colleagues and friends was abundantly evident during the confab.
Despite the large amount of time since we had seen each other, our conversations and mannerisms were not affected. It was just like putting on a comfortable jumper, reassuring and right. There were no stilted conversations or those ungainly pauses which feel like a chasm in time. It ebbed and flowed just as it had done in all of the 19 years we had been friends.
The topic of conversations we enjoy have altered significantly however. We used to wax lyrical about women, cars, cool things we would like. Now, we talk of work, wages, bills, kids and what those people who have dropped out of our orbit are up to now. It is the nature of aging and the heaping of responsibility onto our once immature shoulders. We still chuckle about puerile stuff, but the main tenets of our talks are steeped heavily in grown up territories.
We reminisce often about one thing in particular, and that is the freedom that a lack of responsibility brings. We had it in the palm of our hands in our adolescence, but we frittered it away, not cherishing it when we should have. We now work ridiculous hours in the hope of jumping up a rung in the ladder, or simply to replace a faulty shower in our house.
We recognised that ten years ago, we dreamed about having a decent wage and a place of our own one day. We now have this, we have achieved our dream. How many people can say that? We should be happy with our lot, and just enjoy what we have.
We cannot though, and this is not reserved to my good friend and I. We always aim for more, placing a target in our line of vision which makes the rat race a little bit easier to deal with.
You have a place of your own, but your car has seen better days, so you work in the hope of replacing it with a better model. You haven’t been on holiday in a few years and you deserve some time away, so the bullseye is jetting away to a slice of paradise.
What we lose sight of though, is that what we have right now is the target to a huge number of people. We disregard our current standing in favour of lusting after a loftier view. It is human nature to want better, but could it be perceived as greed?
We are liberally peppered with images and reminders of the millions who would adore just a day in our ungrateful shoes. Should guilt be a prerequisite to living in such a prosperous pocket of existence?
It is good to receive a healthy dose of realism every now and then. It is healthy for the soul. It makes us all appreciate how very lucky we are – but we should not stop chasing for more.
It is growth, and it fuels everything we do. Every advancement ever made has come from an inquisitive mind who wanted a little bit more.
Just imagine a working month with nothing to dream about, nothing to work towards. My friend and I would love to whisk our respective wives away for a holiday, and why can’t we do just that? A few hours of overtime each month increases efficiency at the companies we work for, and the wheel continues to turn with the elbow grease we provide.
Nothing has ever been achieved by a sated mind. If you’re happy with what you have, I genuinely salute you, but I will always want more. Until the day comes when I’m a rich man and no longer have to work for someone else, the daydreams and targets will never diminish.