These past couple months have been filled with experiences that have fundamentally shaped the way that I conceptualize the world. A series of diverse interactions among a diverse set of individuals who follow a diverse set of ideologies. I cherish those interactions. All the same, I am saddened that those interactions would live on in my mind to become isolated from the individual with whom I shared them. Because the pursuit of friendship will not fall within the optimal distribution of mutual existential resources, the prospect of pursuing more than a series of interactions will never come to fruition. Their identities, thus, will become lost as I continue to move on with my life.
I wonder about those friendships that I will never have a chance to cultivate. Those individuals who I have spoken to on occasion only to understand the full extent of my intrigue in their ideas and experiences, only to be constrained by factors that would allow me to never undergo the cycle of creation and destruction of friendship. I would never be able to share intimate moments because the experience of intimate moments only comes from a timeless cultivation of moments. Intimacy does not come through a couple of intense interactions that would supposedly accelerate the progression of a friendship. While the act of exchanging details about formative past experiences creates an air of relatability, it lacks the depth of connection that intimacy offers because intimacy, unlike conversation, does not arise through similarity alone.
Intimacy does not need to be shared among individuals who share the same framework for understanding their experiences. The act of creating intimacy is dependent on a multitude of factors that cannot be quantified through language. Even a mere attempt of understanding intimacy through words would do the nature of intimacy an injustice. Because, while we can experience the empirical manifestation of intimacy through feeling intimate with someone, our feelings are merely a series of chemical reactions that allow us to perceive the boundless existential connection that is true intimacy. As imperfect beings unable to conceptualize the true extent that defines our state of intimacy, all we can do is attempt to reconstruct our feelings through a rational lens.
I wonder about those interactions I have that do not progress beyond words exchanged by two strangers. Especially when I am studying abroad next semester, I feel a sense of reluctance when I reflect upon the connections I have made this semester. How could I hope to derive the intimacy that I seek when I am hopelessly constrained to limit the necessary time spent sharing experiences that serves a pillar towards cultivating intimate experiences? If intimacy is created, among other things, through time spent with each other, then how could I hope to achieve the level of connection that is intimacy without having the necessary conditions to pursue kindling friendships beyond a couple of interaction that only serves as a point of relatability. Without consistency, time shared with each other can only serve as a series of dotted points.
I want to create a line, to achieve another dimension of friendship that a couple of points do not satisfy. Although I find beauty in the ephemerality of friendship, I can only view a friendship as beautiful if I am afraid to lose it. Only when I have achieved a level of connection that is intimacy within a friendship would I ever treat it as irreplaceable. While friendships can overlap in areas of identity that they create, there can never exist within the same plane of existence once intimacy has been achieved. Only through achieving intimacy does a friendship solidify its existence within our identity, and only when other aspects of the world other than ourselves truly live in our lives can our identity truly be broken.
I do not blink when individuals come and go in my life. As an integral part of the experience of aging, I do not fear those individuals whose existence relative to my existence is defined through a few sparse interactions spaced out between long periods of time. Without immediately perceiving those individuals within the context of direct physical contact, they do have a significant part in the creation of the self that had been the amalgamation of past experiences. Without representing a part of my identity, their presence or lack of a presence only serves an unobserved phenomenon within a chaotic system of countless other phenomena that do not go observed by me. Such is the reality of living.
It would be foolish to believe that all individuals in the world are compatible. If I were to assume that identities are the creation of a deterministic vacuum of casual conditions, then because we have all had different experiences in the past, it would imply that our differences in our environment and creation would necessitate that individuals could only relate to a certain other individuals with a set of equally compatible character traits that define the nature of compatible personalities. Because, despite what I have tried to believe all of my life, there exists a threshold of intimacy that is dependent on a set of initial conditions beyond what I could control. In other words, there only exists a finite amount of people in the world that have compatible personalities to each other.
I, similarly, follow the tradition in understanding that I only have a finite number of individuals who I could relate to on an existential level. I, for example, do not get along with individuals who self-describe themselves as happy people, regardless of how compatible we are in other superficial parts of compatibility such as political affiliations and lifestyle choices. And so, I cannot help but be enamored whenever I meet individuals who complement my personality in ways that would allow me to foresee a future where I could achieve the level of connection that is intimacy. But just as I cannot help but feel waves of excitement, I also lace my feelings with an insuppressible bitterness, as I know that some interactions are destined to only remain to be sporadic interactions.
It would be naive of me to believe that all connections grounded in a sense of mutual compatibility are destined to become intimate. For one, feelings of mutual compatibility have to be, well, mutual. Even within the understanding of mutual compatibility comes with the intensity of the desire to create intimacy; given temporal and environmental constraints, both parties have to have a similar willingness to make sacrifices to achieve intimacy. Given the individualistic nature of modern living, which I am not an exception from, the prospect of achieving intimacy seems almost to be caused by chance as opposed to a willing effort to create. How many of our intimate friends had been caused by our effort?
Especially at this junction in my life where I am constantly faced with new barriers to invest in my friendships given an uphill battle, I wonder about the prospect of ever achieving intimacy again. In high school, the environment had been conducive towards creating incentives to further invest in my friendships. Because I would spend time with my friends almost every day in school, the concept of furthering friendships seems all within the definition of friendship itself. Within the first couple years of college, the same incentive structure applied; after all, the existence of free time is one of the defining features unique to the time we spend in college. But, now that I am approaching the end of my college experience, the incentive in furthering friendships become less and less.
I wonder about those interactions I have had that fundamentally changed how I conceptualize my life. I wonder if there exist opportunities in the future to replicate those interactions with the same individuals. I wonder if those interactions would retain their status as defining because of the fact that they are unique in the true sense of the word unique. Because, now that I am approaching closer towards the end of the part of my life free from responsibilities, it seems that it becomes more and more difficult to achieve intimacy among individuals as opposed to sharing a series of meaningful interactions among a diverse set of individuals confined to only a few hours of conversation. I would hate it if my life came to that.