I have absolutely no idea who or what I’m looking for. But you’ll do for now.
I don’t even mean that in a bad way. I just mean that people kind of fuel me. Every time I meet someone, pretty much anyone, I’m excited. There’s an opportunity to forge new connections, make a new me and a new whoever you are.
Let’s take for a not entirely random example, Henry, the asker of the question, and so the titular me.
To my memory I met Henry three different times. The first few times I failed to make the connection between them, but I saw a good person. We first met in a pub, I believe I was DJing to a bored crowd, and the appearance of him with my friend (and one of the Unstruck collaborators) Adam made my evening run smoother. Two lovely people talking about real things in an honest and heartfelt manner.
That’s kind of all I’ve ever wanted.
Then at work, a lengthy discussion about Philip K Dick, one of my favourite topics (subject of my dissertation, for example). Someone who would spare time to let me step out of my work role and into my passion. Someone who would pay attention and reflect and comment. A nice surprise at work.
Then Adam volunteered Henry to illustrate, and since then we bump constantly, and each time my heart is warmed. A positive, laid back, excitable and open person, introduced into my life through coincidence and friends.
What more could I be looking for?
Well. Unfortunately, more of the same. And fortunately, actually it tends to work out. People are marvelous. There’s something to be learnt from everybody. There’s a viewpoint to be had that you don’t normally have access to. If you take the time to listen, then everybody you meet can be someone you were looking for. An angle you needed. A perspective that changes everything.
Of course, in practicality, we’re all too narrow to do that constantly. It’s hard to open yourself up to every new opportunity, especially when we live in a world where our life has so much contact with others. Even with the network I already have, I feel like my contact with too many people I care deeply about it too rare and shallow. It doesn’t feel shallow when it’s there, but it’s hard to be sure they know how much I value them. This leads to my intense sentimentality and constant use of the the word love. I don’t think these are bad things.
Beyond that, there just isn’t the time to spend every day being Ebeneezer Scrooge after a ghostly epiphany, bounding greedily up to every stranger with buoyant cheer. Some people are too narrow, others too scared, and often for good reason. Trust is hard.
But if you’ve said hello. I’ll try and remember to say hello back. Greet you openly and look for the new goodness inside of you.
I’ll try, I swear.
Illustration by Helen