“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
– Muhammad Ali
Once upon a time a young man bought a gym membership. He quit watching Netflix and started spending his evenings learning how to bench and squat. He went to the gym every day, ate a high protein diet, and started to care about his health. During this time a lot of his friends got upset and started to mock him. They said things like “I guess you’re too goo to eat pizza” and “you’ve been to the gym every night, but you’re still scrawny.”
The young man had to make an important decision, he had to chose between doing his own thing or returning to his friends. After some deep though he decided that “friends are f*cking gay.” For the next two months he did everything by himself. He went to bars alone, he ate alone, and he lifted alone. At the time he thought that he was a one man army, reliant on no one and fully control of his own destiny.
I was that guy. From December of 2012 until the beginning of March I spent most of my time by myself. While I wasn’t antisocial, I ended up doing my own thing and parting ways with most of my old crew. Although I had big plans for my year and felt that I needed to work free of criticism, I was also scared. Failing with my goals would be a lot harder if other people knew. They’d smirk and smugly tell me that I shouldn’t have tried in the first place.
In March I ended up becoming really good friends with another guy who went to my school. We became lifting buddies and hung out almost every day. Although my friend transferred schools and I dropped out, we’re still pretty close.
From the beginning of March until the end of July I went to bars and clubs almost every weekend. Since then my interest in nightlife has dropped to almost nothing. Over the weekend I tried to figure out why.
Going out was fun because it was something I always did with my best friend. It didn’t matter if we got blown out by girls, or if the party sucked, or if the bar was a sausage fest. We still had a lot of fun. There was a night where everything was dead so we left early and got Jimmy John’s. While we were there a drunk guy came in, tried ordering tacos, and then argued about what chain restaurant he was in. We ended laughing about it for the rest of the night.
Going out was fun and didn’t feel like work. I also got better at stuff like lifting. Having a partner to compete with made me put in extra work at the gym. It provided motivation.
Nowadays I have a new lifting partner, some great mentors, and plenty of friends. Working with others and sharing goals feels natural to me. However, when I first started to improve myself I thought that I could do everything on my own. Going your own way is still something that I think is important, but it isn’t as effective as having a good friend or quality mentor. Having someone else will help push you along and make the journey more enjoyable.