Chapter 6: It is all about the people

Yesterday (17th December 2019) I went on a little trip to Edinburgh accompanied by the one and only me.

A side note to that: I actually typed 2020 there, which probably means that my brain has archived 2019 already.

I went to Edinburgh as a treat after exams with a proper massage and some Christmas shopping on the itinerary. Whenever I happen to go travelling, leaving my daily routine in Glasgow, I get into a very reflective mood. I personally find the time on the train an excellent opportunity to let the past few days, weeks, months – sometimes I go as far as years – sink in. Yesterday on the train I felt it was a good occasion to reflect upon my 2019 considering the impending end of the year.

2019 has been a hell of a ride, marked by immense personal growth alongside increased self-awareness. 2019 has also been filled with greater feelings of happiness, positivity, and joy as compared to all the years before. Not only do I feel as I got in sync with my true self way more, I also feel as if my decisions and actions were made more consciously.

Most importantly however, this year, with all its ups and downs, could have not been so successful without the contribution of many beautiful people. It is others – including all my friends, my family, all acquaintances, and every other amazing human that could be met every day – that fulfilled my 2019 the most. It is because of the people that walked beside me throughout the year, perpetually lending me their time and support, that I was able to actualise myself.

Thinking about it, I guess 2019 has been my most social year. During the summer break I had at least one social commitment per day. I already started missing friends after not even a week had passed since our last catch up. I tirelessly kept seeking the company of people. Being incredibly social, I made more new connections than in my teenage years altogether. My social network grew exponentially over the course of the year while I fostered existing connections. I even reconnected with friends who I had not seen in over a year or two. In sum, I truly transformed into a social butterfly.

What I learned from being so social is how much others mean. When we feel sad, lonely, or generally down, it is others that can help us the most to cheer us up again. When we feel stuck, it is others that can spark inspiration again, leading the way out of our mental trap. It is other that we can learn from the most because listening to the story and perspective of others can help us expand our knowledge and understanding of the world, others, and ourselves. The effect of social connectedness is a miraculous one overall: sharing negative emotions with your friends will always decrease the magnitude of bad feelings, while sharing positive emotions with friends will always amplify the positivity. We are social creatures and without our brothers and sisters the world would be dull.

Understanding how important others are has raised my gratitude, appreciation, and care for them. Reflecting on 2019 I could detect a clear shift in my priorities. My younger self, especially the one aged between 15 and 19, loved to be the centre of attention. I cared more about myself than others  and it therefore pleases me to see a change as I happily take a step back for the sake of somebody else nowadays. I also came around to see that investing into social connections derives more profit than any investment into materialistic values.

Looking back, 2019 has been filled with many good memories – the best ones with and because of friends. I am grateful for all the time and love which people have invested into me, and I am dedicated to continuously giving back the same in 2020. I hope the new year is filled with all these beautiful people, whether they are old or new friends, and I hope yours may be too. 

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