I believe that every human goes through phases or “seasons” within their lives. Much like a location can go through Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, humans can also have similar, internal seasons that they go through.
During an individual season, I think it’s necessary for the person to learn which season he or she is in, first and foremost. Once the individual gets accustomed to recognizing the seasons, the next step is to learn how to adapt and effectively navigate through the respective season.
For example, Winter tends to be a season of rest, planning, and patience. In this season, a farmer, for example, is planning on how and when he’ll begin his next harvest when the season allows for it. Winter can be uncomfortable but if the proper measures were taken in prior seasons, it doesn’t need to be unbearable or even unenjoyable. It can be used to hibernate and prepare for an incoming sprint. The winter season of one’s year (or years) is no different. For an individual facing a personal winter, this could be an opportunity to reflect on the year or years prior.
What became of past relationships?
Did planned projects or goals come to fruition?
Was mastery over an individual skill or philosophy achieved?
These are all questions to ponder during one’s Winter season.
Currently, I sense I’m going through a unique season--a transitional season, so to speak. It feels like I’m approaching the end of Winter and making my way into Spring. I’m currently on the cusp, in a period where, metaphorically speaking, the weather is snowing one day yet bright, warm, and sunny the next. I’m beginning to prepare my crops.
But what makes this transitional? Well, many things have been occurring in my life--things that I wouldn’t necessarily define as bad, but rather, uncomfortable. Many of my friends are moving away to start a new beginning in their lives. Meanwhile, other friends have become acquaintances--becoming distant due to physical location and a slow disconnect in interests.
In my own life, I’m facing a move of location which will surely act as a catalyst for a new set of habits. While I’m still at the tail-end of my personal Winter, strategizing and planning, I came to an interesting realization: in the next few weeks, I will have essentially lost many of my close friends that I’d consistently spend time with over the past few years.
If you’ve ever read my book 27 x 27, you’ll know that I have an atypical philosophy. The philosophy is that a situation is neither good nor bad. The good or bad of a situation is based solely on the perception of the situation.
While many might read this article about me losing my friends and perceive it as a negative or sad experience, I actually see it as a bit of a blessing. While I have come to enjoy the company of the soon-to-be distant relationships, I also realize that the disconnect can create new opportunities and new beneficial experiences for them and myself. Perhaps in separation can we all move closer towards what we truly want, or rather, what we truly need.
Admittedly, the discomfort of losing everyone is slightly upsetting but I think the long-term payout will be worth it.
This isn’t extremely unfamiliar to me. Back around 2015 and 2016, I was in a slightly similar situation. I was living on campus in college, trying to enroll in classes again and many of my friends were leaving me behind. They were graduating and beginning new lives elsewhere. These were the friends I started college with. These were friends I met during the first few weeks of my college life. These were friends I had known for about 4 or 5 years and had spent virtually all of my time with. And suddenly, they were all leaving me behind.
At the time, this made me feel very lonely. I wasn’t used to making new friends (which, during that point in my life, seemed like an extremely difficult endeavor). As we get older, I’ve found that making friends needs to be a skill that is cultivated and developed unlike when we were children. In childhood, the skill is present almost effortlessly. Back then a very small, yet common interest was enough for two or more of us to create a new best friend. As a child, one could literally meet a next-door neighbor and we’d openly accept them without question or hesitation. We weren’t very picky or judgmental in our youth, I suppose. In the absence of my friends, I realized that I had to adapt. I had to either be alone and unhappy or learn how to make friends and build some rapport relatively quickly. Keep in mind that, at the time, it felt as though people kept very tight social circles and made it extremely difficult to join in. As a second or third year senior in college (I was in college for quite a while) it was pretty common for most students to have formed cliques and circles that seemed impregnable. However, in hindsight, this discomfort forced me to develop myself tremendously. I was forced to improve my social skills and step out of my shell. What was perceived to be a potentially negative experience actually became an amazingly positive experience that I’m glad I lived through.
I sense the same will come of this upcoming experience. Actually, not only do I see good things coming from this, but I’ve also had the opportunity of using my Winter to plan for it. The plan will be to use the lack of friends as a means of self-quarantining myself. Much like losing my friends in college allowed me to develop better social skills, losing my friends soon will allow me to develop myself physically and financially.
The reality is that I have very big goals that I’d often deviate from or allow myself to be distracted from in exchange for fast spurts of fun in the form of partying, drinking, and hanging out.
I’m not saying that these things are bad. I’m simply saying that it’s often easier to distance yourself from what causes a bad habit than it is to try and alter the habit itself. Compare it to an alcoholic that drinks daily or someone overweight that eats junk consistently. While, in theory, the solution might be to just stop drinking or stop eating bad foods, the reality is that there’s a Cue, then a Habit, and then a Reward.
Rather than expect an individual to not drink alcohol when they’re craving it, a simpler solution might be to remove access to alcoholic beverages. Likewise, if someone craves a snack and they have a fridge full of terrible, high-calorie foods, the simpler solution might be to remove the foods rather than to expect someone with such a habit ingrained to simply change their behaviors overnight.
I predict the same forced change will happen to me in the absence of my friends.
For now, I’ll hold back on diving deep into some of my longer-term goals and how I specifically plan on using this time to my advantage. However, I will say that I genuinely believe I’ll look back on this next year or two as some of the greatest and most impactful years of my life.