As I tie up loose ends before I leave to travel indefinitely I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll likely come back to a fraction of the ‘friends’ I feel I currently have. Considering I left to 3 hours away from home for 4 years of university and talk to a total of 4 people from high school in my hometown the odds aren’t great for a high attendance at my welcome home bash. And the first time I went back to Edmonton I texted/facebooked everyone with bells and whistles about my visiting town. Visiting two weeks later I told less than 10 people.
That in mind I started thinking…what if the “quit my job, buy a ticket, get a tan, fall in love, never return” plan actually succeeds. What if I find my ‘soulmate’ (for lack of less nauseating vocabulary) while on my travels? …who would I invite to my wedding? That question alone has been quite therapeutic in my personal relationships.
The theory is a little something like this. If I got engaged to a foreign man, one with no biased relationships with any of my existing friends, the people I would invite to my wedding are the only people I should actually be concerned about. Now that sounds brash, so let’s elaborate…
I’m not saying I wont associate with others or that friends should compete for a seat, and I’m certainly not actually intending on getting married tomorrow. But what I realized was even if I married a prince and had the funds for a 500 person wedding I’d still only invite less than 50 friends…not the 940 some odd links I have on facebook or the 100 on linkedin.
Quite frankly I’m an extrovert; I inherently enjoy being around people and maintaining relationships. But what friends, if sick, would I come home for? What friend would I shave my head with if they got cancer? What friend would I fly across the continent to visit? More simply and superficially put, what friend would I pay 100+ dollars for (and for their plus one) to celebrate my wedding with? Those are the relationships I’m investing in. Those are the relationships I bother mending when things get rough. Those are the friendships that don’t require constant communication all day every day to feel real. Those are the friendships I’ll maintain while I’m literally around the globe.
So I’ve been living by the wedding theory. Looking at my small group of friends (1/20 of my facebook ’friends’) that I would want at my wedding, for whatever qualifying reasons, I’ve started valuing them more. As much as my old job drove me crazy at the end it did have a good concept, the 80-20. The best results are investing 80% of your time in 20% of the people. If I continued investing 10% in 90% of people like I am, that wedding list would be a quarter the size by the time I actually get married (let’s be real, probably 10 years away). I’m not saying I’m deleting everyone not on the list, or that the list is final…but it’s a great starting point.
In addition to this, the Wedding Theory also carries to relationships. 22 may not be old…but it’s not that young either. As friends an I chat about relationships, we’ve come to the (perhaps terrifying) conclusion that whoever we’re in a relationship with now or whoever our next one is with might just be ‘the one’…and if it’s not, then do we want to waste time in these relationships and end up single in our late 20s trying to meet, ‘court’, get engaged to, and marry somebody? Typically the answer is no. I’m not saying I want to be married any time soon, but I am saying that with the exception of flings along the travel paths, I’m not really at a point in life where I want to date somebody just to be in a relationship. Plus I just quite enjoy being single as it allows me to be much more selfish in my life decisions.
With the morbid thought of me maybe not making it back (tsunamis happen), or somebody I love not being here when I get back, it makes me feel better that I’ve prioritized my relationships now so I can go knowing those who matter know they matter.