I've had some humbling discovery lately. First, I confirmed that I definitely was not the center of the universe (HAHA). But I knew that already. What really was humbling was that I wasn't as "popular" as I thought. It's weird. At my age, I really shouldn't care if I'm popular or not, and I normally I don't. But lately, the online communities I visited always reminded me of high school, and the feeling of trying to be friends with everyone and to become popular just rushed back to me. It was so bizarre. And my conclusion was EXACTLY the same as the one I had years ago, when I was in high school -- people really didn't care. The humbling reality was, and still is, that everyone did know my name, did know who I was, but nobody really knew me, but only a handful of people really cared when I left.
I'm resigned to accept that I'm not and will never be one of these people who have a thousand friends. I just went to a birthday party of a friend and he had like a whole houseful of friends and family there to celebrate with him. A houseful. There must be at least 50 or 60 people there. I would be lucky to fill a room with friends if I really need to. I'm just not that guy -- that gregarious, "everybody loves Raymond" kind of guy. When I die, there will not be a houseful of friends and family at my funeral; I know that.
But I am not complaining either. It takes effort to gain and keep friends, and I admit that I'm not the best person in that arena. I get sidetracked. I am self-absorbed. I forget. And a lot of times I would rather just stay home to be by myself instead of going out with friends to have a good time. It's not like I am anti-social -- I am simply not that extroverted or eager to connect, all the time.
I am not complaining because I am lucky that I do have a few really close friends. These are friends who are always there for me, who will listen to my secrets and cheer for me and worry about me when they don't hear from me for a while. These are friends who love me for who I am and are genuinely happy for me when I am successful and honestly concerned and worried when I am sick or in danger. They would tell me what I did wrong, then hug me and say "You can do better next time." They care about me, and they don't judge. These are the people who will be at my funeral.
Sometimes I just need to remind myself that I am lucky to have these people in my life, and that I don't need to whole world to love me. And if others don't care about me, that's fine, and I shouldn't be hung up on that. It's okay if 99.9999999% of the people I know don't care if I live and die, because I believe in quality and not quantity. It's nice, I guess, to have a houseful of friends and family at my 50th birthday -- I admit that I was a bit jealous of my friend's fortune in that regard. But I also know that that's not me. For me, it's most likely to be a nice, quiet evening sitting with a couple of best friends, listening to Jazz and sipping from our glasses, and knowing that if the world ended at that very moment, there would be no regrets.
I'm grateful to have them in my life. And I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my life with them. That's what really counts.