A life lesson I learned too late
When I was 20, I was plodding on recklessly through life.
No, I am not talking about academics/professional life — that is an area I was always serious about. I had the best grades, whether or not I liked the subject. When it came to achieving goals, I was as expert as a robot.
But when it came to personal life, I was careless.
I was reckless about people. About friends.
I had a HUGE ego that led me to believe that the world revolved around me. If a person didn’t do things according to how I wished they would, I didn’t hesitate to cut them out of my life for the simplest reasons.
- Robin didn’t call me back after I called him three times? Delete contact. Silent treatment until our friendship dies out.
- Ahana and I had a minor disagreement? Ugh, why should I make the effort to talk it out and solve the issue? I would stop talking to her forever and cut her out of my life.
Robin and Ahana’s feelings didn’t matter. Only mine did.
And because I believed I was so good, I felt the others — my friends — were lucky to deserve my friendship and if they made small mistakes, they deserved no place in my life.
And then one day, college ended.
The protective bubble of happiness I was inside burst suddenly.
The real world was harsh, I realised. It was cruel.
Nobody had time for “friendship”, I realised. People would talk to you only if you served some “purpose” in their lives. This purpose could range from being there when they wanted someone to hang out, or to more complex, codependent scenarios where they needed some help at work and you were the one with the right skills.
In the real world, you need to deliver some value. Without that, no one is going to love you. No one is going to be your “friend” just for friendship’s sake.
And that made me realise the value of those friends back in college.
Robin and Ahana were there for me during some tough times. But because my ego led me to believe my problems were more important than whatever they were going through at that time, I let them go.
Just like that. So simply — never to come back again.
If I were 20 again, I would not place so much importance to my stupid ego and look at my friends with the gratitude they deserve.
There would definitely still be disagreements, there would be countless occasions where my interests clash with theirs. But that does not mean I cannot compromise a bit, that I cannot quiet my ego down and look at the situation from their points of view.
No matter who we talk to, there would always be a point when we would disagree with them. But if we really want it, there is no issue in the world that cannot be solved.
If I were 20 again, I would know that friends are like flowers in a dark, dark world.
You need to hold on to them tight, for you never know when you will get someone else who will love you unconditionally as they do.
And the friends you make in college are the ones that love you with absolutely no ulterior motives.