Choose Your Friends, Choose Your Self
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ― Jim Rohn
(and reiterated by many motivational speakers and self-help podcasts)
This is a quote that has become increasingly influential on my life decisions, and one that has allowed me to find contentment in the friendships I have pursued in my postgrad life. In the past few years, I've overheard and participated in many discussions about how difficult it is to meet and sustain friendships postgrad. And yes, compared to the fun and excitement of student orgs, nonstop events, and weekly kickbacks, it's easy to feel limited to the company of your coworkers and anyone who lives close enough to meet for happy hour.
I've fallen out of touch with many friends thanks to the combination of frequent moves, low-maintenance friendship tendencies, crippling social anxiety, and my personal favorite: my habit of personally and professionally biting off more than I can chew, resulting in a tunnel-visioned isolation. But now, unlike the me of years past, I no longer lament the "loss" of these friendships, and neither do I blame myself for being a shitty friend. In fact, I've come to realize how incredibly blessed I am with my current friendships.
Most of my friendships are long-distance friendships, so I have grown accustomed to actively putting effort into them, whether it's tagging someone in a relevant meme, following up on a recent milestone, or sending little care packages to those going through a rough time. These long-distance friendships have allowed me to carefully choose the high-quality friendships that I wish to sustain, and as a result, to allow influence on who I become as an individual. In this way, I am choosing who I want to become, simply by surrounding myself with those who will inspire and push me to bloom wherever I am transplanted.
To the beautiful, talented, wholesome bunch of friends of mine, I am so, so grateful for you.
Thank you for helping make me, me.