It’s a phrase my parents were far too find of saying.
“Just get on with it”. No fluff. No indulgence. no fuss. You just stuck it out and got on with whatever the problem was. No tears and no silliness. I suppose it’s like last-generation’s “man up”.
The problem is, I don’t think as humans we’re built to do that, irregardless of gender. My firm belief is that we need people there for us. I remember in high school, a debate raged through a class about whether friends are “needed” to maintain self-esteem. I don’t think we always realise just how important friends are in life. Life after high-school life, I mean. When fighting out in the world, the big-bad world full of things which want to hurt us, we need our friends to help us through far more than we ever did when maintaining some adolescent drama. Or I think so, anyway.
After speaking with friends on Friday about the negative feelings which have been plaguing my head all week, making me feel more down and depressed than I’ve felt in a long time, I found they were starting to dissipate. It wasn’t a miracle by any means, these feelings don’t magically vanish, but it reminded me of an old poster I remember at my school’s medical centre; “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
After I spoke about what I was feeling, to have other people say they’d felt that way too and to talk about why or what t could be, I could feel some of the fear and anxiety melting away. Loneliness, or the feeling of such, seems to be a heightened sense of reality in London. We’re surrounded by people all the time – commute, work, home and all the points in between – and yet it almost seems that in London, more than any other place, it’s the easiest to feel cut off from that basic human contact. We’re all so wrapped up in our own lives that we can forget to let other people in, too.
This week taught me just how essential it is to do so.
The digital revolution has given us many things to be grateful for, but the one thing I don’t believe it can ever replace is human contact. It’s the sweetest, simplest, more pure thing in the world. And yet so much of what I see in the information age is designed to kill it. We have apps for dating, programs to arrange our social lives, calendars in our pocket to tell us where we should be and why. But nothing can replace the most fundamental feelings we have towards the people in our lives. They’re what make it special.
I didn’t grow up with many friends, not real ones. The fact I have them now is something I’m grateful for every day. I suppose for some it’s the most everyday of experiences, but I try to never forget how special that is.
Bad days come, and bad days go. But true friends will always be there. And it’s they who can make the bad days go much faster.