For this week’s challenge, tell a story that shows the value of company.
Evolutionary biologists insist that we’re a social species, but we can all agree that actual people can be a challenge to be around, and not only when they bump into you on the sidewalk as they try to catch a rare Pokémon. Being around people demands effort: attention, patience, concentration. Even graciousness, on a good day.
This is a roundabout way of saying that sometimes, nothing fills me with more pleasure than being alone. Not necessarily cut off from humanity, but free from the need to interact with and cater to the needs of my fellow humans.
Yet coming back from these moments of solitary plenitude always reminds me that their value would be diminished if they weren’t as rare as they are (and O, are they rare these days: thanks, offspring!). It’s not just that I get to share what I experienced, after the fact, with people I care about; they were always part of the experience in absentia, because they are an inextricable part of me.
I thought about this privilege when reading a recent Discover feature on couples who blog together about their travels and adventures around the world. One of the bloggers, Anita from No Particular Place to Go, put it really well. These days I am the exact opposite of a nomadic retiree, but her words about blogging alongside her husband resonated with me nonetheless:
Knowing that we’ll be writing about a shared journey gives us both more incentive to venture outside of our comfort zones, ask a lot more “why, how, and when” questions about the places we find ourselves in, dig a little deeper for an answer, observe our surroundings with greater care, and examine our own reactions and impressions.
The flipside of the demands of human company is the value we find in complexity and empathy — the ability to view the same thing from multiple angles. So for this week’s Discover challenge, tell us about one of your shared journeys. It could be an actual journey — a road trip with your friends, your honeymoon, a walk in the woods with your parents. But you might also choose a less physical journey, from adopting an animal with your partner to finishing a collaborative creative project. You’re also welcome to share a contrary perspective and insist on the merits of solitary exploration.
I look forward to your posts — which can come in any form, genre, or media you prefer to publish in.