You are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.
This quote has been surrounding my life for the past three weeks since I first heard it spoken at House (my 20-something’s Bible study group.) Our discussion for the night was about reflecting on who we keep in our lives and the purpose of why some people seem to come and go at unexpected moments. This is something I have spoken about at length in my posts in the past (i.e. Calling Out Toxic Relationships, Letter to the Army, The Appeal of Living with Drama, etc.), and though I am still uncomfortable sharing my disappointing relationships and friendships face-to-face with my House group, I never keep anything from you, blogosphere.
I feel this simple quote has a lot of power behind it. As I look back on the people I have held closest to me in the past and compare them to the person I was while in their lives, I’m amazed.
One prime example is Army. I was happy for the primary part of our relationship but I was not always the type of person I wanted to be: (1) I allowed my faith and morals to take a back seat in my life; (2) I was forced to remain patient and positive in the attempts to make the relationship work; and (3) I changed many of my personality traits (drinking, swearing, etc.) more than I like to admit, simply to be included in his lifestyle.
Another example is Teeth. I loved her and I valued her friendship, but my life was never more dramatic than when she was my best friend. I strove to live up to the expectations of going out every weekend, flirting with random people, gathering compliments like they were pocket change. I never stepped over the line and allowed random individuals into my life intimately, of which I am proud, but I did focus a lot on how males related to me and what they thought of me. Neither of which have ever been a main priority in my life before.
Now, though, I look at myself and see how the people I spend the most time with really do influence my entire life, behaviors, personality, morals, and all.
Reflecting on my life nowadays, I am pleasantly surprised by who has become concrete to my day-to-day lifestyle. House has been too good to me; those who are a part of the group are some of the most welcoming, inspirational, and unselfish people I have ever met. Two months ago, I had never even met these people and today I consider them some of my closest friends. They’ve become family.
- There is my housemate, M, who is one of the most gentle yet bold person around. Knowing her history and learning her story has quickly formed our friendship as we have much in common. She and I both have a passion for literature and words, we keep active with our faith, and we are both laid back, which makes the whole “living under one roof together” thing very easy. Another thing I admire about this girl: M is the rare type who will approach a random guy she sees in a store and give him her number. She knows what she wants and she goes after it. That’s inspiring for anyone to witness.
- Then there are the 907 Girls. 907A was my first friend at House and has become a great confidant and individual from whom to seek advice. She has also become my source for competition in games we play; she pushes me to excel. 907S is a bubbly yet down-to-earth friend who cares about all those around her. Both are unbelievably kind, and outstanding faiths are unparalleled. It has been nothing but uplifting getting to know them. They are simply great people with whom to spend time.
- My parents are always part of my closest-knit group. And though I don’t see them as often as I did while living at their house, it’s good to know I will forever have their love and support behind me to get through anything. They’ve gotten me through some of my worst moments (high school, X, Army) and I’ll never be able to thank them enough.
- The fourth person who has become close to me is Wilbur. We have been dating regularly for the past few weeks and during that time he has been nothing short of wonderful. I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready to date again after the Golfer fiasco, but I figured I’d give it a shot. A good friend of M’s, Wilbur also attends House so we have been able to get to know one another through group events as well as one-on-one. He’s a great person, and one thing I notice every time I am with him is how unselfish he is. A great example comes from last week. After Ultimate Frisbee, my knee was swollen to twice the size it normally is because I played a bit too hard on it. Unfortunately, the Homestead is not fully stocked with First Aid materials. Knowing this, Wilbur drove to town, brought me an ice pack and a bottle of ibuprofen, gave me a hug, and went back home. I was in shock for a few days; I have never had a friend, let alone a guy, do something so sweet for me with no catches or expectations. It was just plain nice.
- My last “person” is more a collection than an individual. There are about 10 people I regularly see and spend time with at House. Subtract the four mentioned above, and my fifth “person” is a compilation of 6 truly great people to influence my life. The one quality I can give this group is how open they are. They welcomed me from Day One and have incorporated me in every way possible since. We have The Walking Dead watching parties, movie nights, bonfires, dinner dates, weekend outings, and I’m even attending a wedding this weekend as someone’s plus one because the group “knows how much I love weddings.” I feel comfortable talking to them about things stressing me in life and things that make me smile, and they do the same to me. There is not a single person who dims the group; they are all the types of people you would want to be surrounded by.
So, out of my “5” individuals, these are the traits I associate with them: Boldness, Faithfulness, Love, Unselfishness, and Openness. I cannot look at these five traits and not feel a sense of warmth — if I am but a piece of what these people put into my life, then I am doing exceedingly well. I am an average of these characteristics, and I am completely happy with being average.
Now I’m going to ask for you to consider who your 5 people are. Who melds into your life and takes a part of yourself with them? Who are you an average of? It might be a good time to take a step back, analyze your social structure, and assess if you’re the person you want to be. If you’re not, then it might be time to make some hard choices and broaden your friendship pool with people who can better support, encourage, and uplift you. The Lord knew exactly who I needed in my life and granted me with the best. I value those relationships I had in the past because they helped shape, and I am thankful for the relationships in my future for they’ll continue to pressure me into the person I am meant to be. But for now, I cannot express how loved and supported I feel with my little batches of sunshine in my life.