I just returned from a really fun weekend with some friends in Key West, Florida to celebrate one of our friends' bachelor party. Even though I am struggling to get back in the zone for work, I find myself feeling energized and ready to take on upcoming challenges with a more positive attitude.
So, why am I writing about such a private and personal event on this blog? Because I want to talk about the importance of bonding with friends. I am probably one of the oldest guys in the group and I definitely consider myself to be the luckiest one!
As I've gotten older, I've noticed that friends my age are getting together less and less as time goes on. This seems to be an inevitable situation for everyone because of the responsibilities of career and family. After a while, we only seem to get together on very rare occasions such as weddings and funerals. That's why I feel very lucky because I have a group of friends who are still making an effort to get together.
I love spending time with friends when I can because they remind of what's important in life...experiences. Money doesn't buy happiness but it does let you afford more experiences. But the thing with experiences is that they're not as memorable when it's experienced alone...even if you were to capture it.
Did you ever do something and it feels like it never happened because no one was there to experience it with you? It's like when someone comes up to you and says, "Dude, I hooked up with this hot chick! We did this...that..." And an obvious reply by any good friend would be, "Of course you did, bud..."
The accumulation of shared experiences, or bonding, with friends and family adds to your overall happiness. It is actually a human need to socially interact with friends. I believe this is why depression is growing with the younger generation because of their lack of social bonding experiences and reminds me of something that I read from the article, "The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think", where it states:
"A street-addict is like the rats in a cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else."
As I've mentioned plenty of times, it's impossible to live life to the fullest because we all experience struggle and hardships as part of life. I have been going through a lot of bullshit from family members (not my siblings) after my father passed away. I never thought I'd ever see such evil behaviors from them but it's fuckin' distracting as hell.
If I decided not to hang out with my friends, the negative thoughts would have kept on building to distract me from enjoying life. It wasn't based on me taking things I had for granted, but the inability to express forgiveness because they keep finding a way to fuck with you.
But since I've returned from the bachelor party, the bullshit from my aunt does not haunt me throughout the day anymore. I'm focused on my future projects and my responsibilities. I'm more excited to accept challenges work the risk!
The bonding experience with my friends really helped me get re-energized! Just like any sport, it's difficult to win the Olympic gold medal but it's even harder to keep it. Happiness takes an effort to maintain.
We are all so worried about what other people think about us that we get sidetracked on what's really important. I'm sure you already know that it's not about the material things but most of us have this notion that people are consumed with our accomplishments and failures.
We all tend to admire those who we believe are "successful", which we usually associate with their financial status. And we compare ourselves to their achievements which can actually make you feel worse. But from my experience, I've met some very miserable people who have a lot of money. A lot of them tend to be very lonely because they've lost "real" friends.
Just to provide more proof of the importance of bonding, let's discuss how you see the same people you admire when they're gone. If they were to pass away today, would you miss them? Steve Jobs accomplished a lot of things and was very financially successful but I'm pretty sure you haven't thought about him in a while.
We really only miss people who you had a special "bond" with... We don't give a fuck what they did for a living or how much they struggled in their lives. We miss them because you feel a certain loss from someone who you've shared bonding experiences with and they're now gone...afraid as if those experiences almost never happened.
Once you stop focusing on what people think and focus more on what you can do to gain more bonding experiences with your friends and family, the happier you can be. You will see that your job is just a medium for you to afford these experiences instead of feeling that your life is being wasted.
Anyway, I just wanted to convey the importance of spending time with your friends. It doesn't have to be a crazy bachelor party or a big event. Just find the time to spend with your friends instead of taking them for granted. And I don't mean for you to do this as an attempt to "escape" from your responsibilities. Do it to share some experiences and do some healthy bonding to give yourself a nice little positive boost!
I hope this message has been inspiring enough for you to make a decision to actually contact your friends that you haven't seen in a while and hang out. So, when you finish reading this...I hope you say, "fuck it"...because that's when I know that you have truly made a decision.
Special shoutout to my boys who participated in the shenanigans and to Bill, who was the excuse that brought us all together! It was a pleasure bonding with you fuckers! I look forward to future get-togethers! Yeeeeeeeeew!
Ricardo J. Zulueta, Jr.