Most friends - aren't.
Hell, acquaintances are better than halfway friends. With acquaintances, at least everyone is real about where you're at.
A lot of our camp are people who were on their way very much up in the world before the financial crash hit, but we were all a little unstable and shaky since we don't have decades of experience yet.
Many of us got broken down. Some scraped by and kept moving. But all the young businessmen I know went down in the world.
And like, when you live a couple blocks off Newbury Street with nice art and nice furniture and some swords and a fireplace, it's really easy to make "friends."
There were these guys I hung out with, they always got tables at nightclubs. They imported diamonds or something. I was always invited when they were out, since I usually came out myself, introduced girls to them, didn't drink liquor (so I'd just have a juice or club soda), and left after half an hour or an hour.
But y'know, that whole charade was contingent upon "ballin'" - or whatever you'd call it.
Everyone was doing okay, this was '07 or so. Then, I don't know, a couple people go down in the world, and nobody's around.
A couple people are around, but even then.
But nah, I think of a few people. Like Bren Bobzin, Yifei Zhang, Judd Weiss, guys who you could be all busted down and they'd still be interested in chatting about philosophy or business or history, or doing martial arts in the park.
You know, you don't need money to go fight in the park. It's basically free. I mean, you got to buy some Tylenol afterwards maybe. But that's cheap.
You know, you don't need money to talk about philosophy. Maybe you got to buy some books. But books are cheap.
Hell, you don't even need money to talk about money. Fuck, I hate money these days. I used to worship it, now I despise it and just want to do cool things. (Paradoxically, the getting of money seems to be easier when you despise the stuff. I keep meaning to write about this at some point.) But yeah, you could talk about money in a cheap shitty diner, in fact, that's what we used to do. Or over Greek food, or at a poolhall.
That's what you need, the real stuff, not the "trappings of success."
You know what "the trappings" are?
It's not just bullshit.
It's worse than that.
Needing "trappings of success" around means it's your surface persona interacting with someone else's surface persona.
It's like, the dude you want to pretend you are interacting with the dude they want to pretend they are.
And those people aren't going to be around when things get hairy.
It's hard, really hard, to think about what really matters to you, open up about that, interact on that level. And maybe go get into some fistfights together when some punks are trying to pick on someone weak, or otherwise just do some crazy shit together.
But heck, it's not even the crazy shit. It's being real, it's owning the good and bad, the hopes and fears. Fuck money and nice things. If someone doesn't want to go fight in the park or sit at a greasy cheap diner talking about whatever, then they're useless and can't be counted on. But true friends, true friends where you truly open up about what truly matters, even though it hurts? That's priceless. Worth more than strong enemies, even.
PS - sometime I hate my iPad's auto correct... Makes me look like an english spelling moron. I need to read what I write before hitting submit.
I read everything you write... Cause you're awesome. But I don't usually take the time to comment. I just read it, and think of way to put the principles into action in my life.
But this post tugged on a heart string. By the end of it I actually had a little tear well up... And I think it's because I know what it feels life to have a true friend like you described.
It truly is priceless.
To True Friends!
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."
- George Bernard Shaw
Very good question from a reader. I wrote up a pretty thorough reply, and now I'm recalling a number of times i've been asked this. So, here we go -
You are travelling a lot, so I've been wondering if you feel lonely and if that's the case, how you deal with it. I don't mean to sound too personal, just for the record, so if you do not wish to answer, go ahead (just let me know if that's the case, or point me to some reading, maybe?). I have found that when travelling for extended periods of time in places one does not know people, or when moving, changing location, that a certain lack of close contact with people can occur. This can lead to demotivation (concerning activity in general, work...), paralyzation, distraction causing lack of devotion to work and the like. Well, you are often writing about many friends, and I suppose you mean over the internet? Is that enough, or a temporary substitute? How do you counteract low-states induced by such cirumstances? (If they occur, I don't know if you have the problem, it just seemed a possibility).
Thanks a lot,
Good observation. Yes, you're 100% right - lack of contact with people is a big problem with traveling.
We've been in Panama for two days now, but it seems like weeks. There's obviously still TONS to explore around the city, but I'm already comfortable here and it even feels a bit familiar.
First of all, I love it. For me it has the ideal balance between chaos and structure. It's very safe... people are at least as friendly as they are in the US, if not moreso. They go out of their way to help us and put up with our mediocre Spanish. Our hotel right now isn't in a great area (though not a bad one either), and I feel totally safe walking a few blocks to go to a diner.
Even though it's safe, there don't seem to be a lot of minor enforced rules. Taxi drivers ignore speed limits and stop signs. The drinking and gambling age is 18, but I've heard even that's not enforced. You don't get the feeling that you're being overprotected or treated like a child.
The food has been MUCH better than expected. There are several vegetarian cafeterias that we've found already which are incredibly good and cheap. The one we visited tonight was owned by a very friendly Chinese couple (have you ever heard Chinese people speak Spanish?). There were maybe forty different dishes they had, and a serving of any one was only fifty cents. I asked for orange juice without sugar (most fruit drinks here have sugar) and they fresh squeezed it for me for only $1!