The camera pans out to a living room, at the corner there is a young man sitting at a dimly lit table. There is guitar music playing from his laptop…
His voice starts singing very loudly and very off-key, indeed an observer would even remark that the young man sings “poorly”.
The young man is suddenly self-aware and stops abruptly to look into the camera…
Oh, hi guys – ahem, excuse me there – for a second I got lost in the music, I was trying to find some inspiration online and stumbled onto some old tunes via Youtube.
You know how it is – before long, one song turns into a living room karaokathon.
Tonight, I was struggling a little bit to find my groove. Been a long day with MrsFrugalSamurai-to-be doing more “stuff” for the wedding (read our wedding series here).
Lucky my mates Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Beeyoncai – helped me out and I’ve got them feels again.
Unfortunately some of us are not as fortuitous to come out of a funk through a few tunes.
This week, one of my good friends came out on social media, not with his sexuality but with the admittance of his depression via a poignant monologue.
I felt that it was an incredibly brave and incredibly raw thing to do – to be able to expose your vulnerabilities to your peers in this digital age, where only perfection is highlighted.
As I read more and more into his post, the more and more I was reading an earlier chapter in my own life.
The messages of despair and mental “fog” were as true as they were back then.
The desolation of will, lack of purpose – all encountered and battled with.
How fickle the mind is – when we are able to distract ourselves with our pursuit of purpose – of money, of career, of entrepreneurship, of recognition, of status.
When the true secret to happiness is… relationships.
The longest and closest running study of the pursuit of happiness is this 80 year mammoth of works from Harvard (here) and summarized in this amazing Ted Talk:
“…when they were starting out as young adults, really believed that fame and wealth and achievement were what they needed to go after to have a good life, but over and over… study has shown that the people who’ve fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships with family, with friends, with community.”
So why is it that we so easily discard our relationships, why do we burn those bridges and why do we take people for granted?
Because like anything in life – we more often than not choose the obvious path.
It’s obvious to focus on career, to focus on making money, to focus on reward and recognition – it’s a personal decision. Total people involved? One, uno, eins.
Our relationships? That’s a two way street – two, dos, zwei.
Relationships take time away from our lives, they are intangible, are a slow burn and most of all – require consistent effort.
But as the Harvard study shows – relationships are the key to happiness.
Did I understand this when I was battling through my personal demons?
Of course not, my biggest regret during that period was that I internalized those demons – and wanted to fight them off myself.
However we can only fight the good fight until our stamina is depleted.
It’s only in your darkest moments when you see who is there to guide you back to the light.
Luckily, I found the person who was able to regenerate that HP. We’re planning our wedding now.
This is why I applaud my friend for coming out as he did. He’s radioed for reinforcements.
And have they responded – the sheer number of comments in response to his S.O.S shows that despite everyone’s busy schedule, the best of human nature is on hand to help.
So come on guys, next time that you feel a part of your relationships need that rekindling – get on the front foot, make that fire burn again, because scientifically – it may just prolong your life.
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