‘Trimming’ only becomes possible once you gain the wisdom, the life experience, (and bloody mindedness that makes you do something that irrational without truly considering the consequences), to fully appreciate the true value of friendship. (Or, if you truly don’t give a f..k what anyone thinks of you).
Because although meeting people and making friends, on the surface might look as simple as choosing a new phone, securing life-long friends is much more problematic. Sometimes your initial intuition is right about people, and you luck out and make the right choice, sometimes you get distracted by clever packaging, and end up having to prune them from the tree.
You see true friends are about as rare as celibate Catholic priests, which is why the quest for long-term friendship can be a life-long chore.
The quest usually begins in the uneven playing field of high school (like you don’t have enough on your mind!), where focus is generally directed towards ‘Survivor’ style skills and the formation of alliances, which may or may not ultimately evolve into real friendships, with time. Your main mission is to ‘fit in’; academic education ranks a poor second.
The difficulties of ‘acceptance’ into high school’s microcosm of society has never fundamentally changed. The social hierarchy in my childrens’ school, replicates my own high school hell, although these days the pressure to be popular is further compounded by the demands of social media platforms. ‘Social ranking’ is now determined by the number of ‘likes’ on your Facebook page, where once it was determined by the quantity of food in your lunchbox.
Of course, if you do make it into the lions den, (aka the ‘popular’ crowd), high school is a breeze. Most of us don’t. We either sink or swim, (or like me, frantically doggy-paddle, all the while trying to be as inconspicuous as possible).
Unfortunately, high school will never celebrate ‘difference’. While the stereotypical ‘populars’ preen (and prematurely shag and imbibe), the ‘losers’ quietly run the slower race, much like the tortoise in Aesop’s Fable.
And if the underdogs are astute, and invest their time (spent hiding from the bullies in the toilets and library), wisely, there is every chance of them empowering themselves with enough knowledge and skill to develop into intellectually more superior human beings than the ‘pretties’ they leave behind to their mirrors and adulation.
They will end up the winners, ultimately, when they discover that talent and integrity are the valued currency in the real world, (unless you’re Lara Bingle of course). Much like the tortoise did. Because the tortoise’s confidence grew out of the stupidity of the hare. And when the race had finished, the tortoise probably downed a few schooners and rolled a few joints with his nerdy mates at the RSL, and became much more chillaxed in his approach to socialization.
And what were the rest of us doing while the hares and the tortoises were sparring?
We were ‘faking it to make it’ of course, like all good fence-sitters. And some of us are guilty of ‘faking it’ beyond the walls of high school too. We gather ‘friends’ like superfluous Qantas frequent flyer points, although we have very little intention of flying anywhere with them.
Until that magic ‘lightbulb moment’, that happens when you just get too tired to fit everyone in and Masterchef suddenly becomes more appealing than hitting the town. When you have that epiphany and realise that no, you don’t actually have to be friends with people you have nothing in common with, want to spend time with or actually even like.
And with that epiphany (that stems partly from maturity and partly from that grouchy middle-age intolerance that makes us moan about absolutely everything), comes the bravery to prune the tree, that has grown so out of control it’s hanging over next door’s pool. And that trim gives you the respite to focus on the people who count in your life, because you’ve finally identified them (with all that wisdom and sh.t).
You’ll know that I’m no gardener if you read my post ‘The Definition of Lazy’. So you might be asking WTF all this crap about trees and bushes and sh.t is really about?
Well, it’s about life being too short, and too precious to waste, and ‘faking it’.
Apparently removing dead wood encourages new growth.
‘There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.’ Unknown