I’m 36 years old now, and here’s what I know about being a person/dealing with people.
1. Everyone is crippling insecure and tripping on ego. Some fake it better than others, but I talk to successful, driven, powerful people who admit that they’re just all the time afraid of being ‘found out.’ We all have that insecure kid in us who is too ugly, fat, dumb, or scared. Who is afraid they’re not worthy of friends or jobs or compliments or love. Anger, bullying, shitty behavior usually is rooted in wounded pride, fear and insecurity.
2. Everyone is self-focused and weird and boring. Thanks to social media, we now get insight into the inner workings of all our acquaintances and even celebrities, and wow what giant disappointments we are! I guess. Or, what a giant relief it is to know that everyone is equally simple. We’re all just obsessed with the monotonous minutia of our own lives. That’s how it goes. Glamorous moments are brief and mostly fabricated- basically we’re all just wearing sweaters, sitting on our couches thinking about what to eat.
3. There has always been pain and poverty and inequality and there always will be. There will always be death too early and injury and loss and loneliness. Some people are born into unfair, impossible, violent, scary, uncomfortable lives. Some people were never told they were amazing or lovable or given what they needed to grow and thrive. Some people have terrible, shattering things happen to them and have to figure out how to limp through. It’s hard to person in the best of circumstances, but sometimes it’s near impossible. We’re all obsessed with our own stuff (see #2) but those of us who did land in solid families who were able to house, feed, educate and love us have to try to help those who weren’t. When the chips are down, we have to ask for help and we have to give it freely and happily because I think making life a little less impossible for one another is kind of our chief planet purpose.
4. People are way more alike than we are different. Breaking up into groups is as harmful as it is natural. We’re afraid of things not like us, so it helps to find the ways that we’re the same, so we’re all “us.” The more we can stay away from “teams,” the more we are united as one and trying to help instead of hurt each other. I know I’m a hippie and my advice to “bearhug the world” might sound trite, but you know, it’s my birthday. Shut up and try it.
5. If you can find the humor in it, you can survive it, even if the only thing left intact is your wit. It’s something. Comedy is a universal language. It’s a gift we can freely share and a balm that does heal.
That’s it. Just those 5 things. That’s all I’ve learned, but they took some work.