Best Friends for Now

I am extraordinarily privileged. My parents have been supportive of me my whole life, financially and emotionally. While this is certainly a dependency, it also has made me receptive to a very deep form of freedom. I have from time to time confused freedom with independence. The logic would be that the fewer people on whom I depend and the fewer people who depend on me, the more free I am to make decisions that serve my best interest in any given moment. But that is so stupid, because no matter what, we are all interdependent — even the sixty year old billionaire bachelor. In fact, the quest for individual independence is often at odds with other things we aspire for, like intimacy, security, recognition… The freedom here is not a product of being non-dependent, but rather in being able to choose to whom one is responsible and on whom one can rely. Recognizing our inescapable inter-dependency reflects a different ideology from that of our traditional paradigms of relationships, in business, friendship, or love. Because it is the notion that what will be best for me is to retain my independence and stay non-committal, that is degrading the state of relationships. Our inter-dependent nature relies on a giving economy, because while we have the capacity to control how we give, we can’t control how much others will give. And therein lies the conflict and the challenge. The conflict is that it is so natural and easy to project one’s expectations onto others and be disappointed, and the challenge is to not become jaded by that discrepancy and continue to give anyway. Because what is easiest and safest is to do the minimum that other’s expect. But to continue to give away time and energy, happily and without resentment, is the only way to not perpetuate the trend and contribute to the ever-expanding discrepancy between the relatively cold world we live in and the one we all can imagine.