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All the People Out There

This is it.  The last post about Matthew Quick’s book, Every Exquisite Thing. You have to be impressed by a single book that has generated 8 blog posts. (You can find the other ones here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)  As always, you don’t have to read the book to follow these posts and have an opinion because I’m using the book as a springboard to other mental spaces.  But it makes a damn fine beach read.

There are times in your life when you feel like you’ve met everyone.  I rationally know that there are thousands of people around me — right here in this town — that I don’t know, but… it also feels like I rarely connect with new people.

The same goes with interests.  It feels like I’ve already established all of my interests, even though rationally I know that I can scroll back through the blog and see things like video game genres or guitar lessons — interests that were new at one point or another.

There is always a chance that a new friendship or interest or opportunity will pop up on any given day.  Which is why I appreciated this sentiment from the book, and it feels like a perfect end point to all the navel-gazing.

On page 253, Nanette asks, “Is there anyone worth admiring in the world? Or does everyone let you down eventually?”

She receives an answer on page 254 from her therapist:

There are seven billion people in the world, and you have only experienced twenty thousand at the most. And those twenty thousand were fairly homogenous. Your experiences with people have been largely dictated by your parents’ choices. The neighborhood in which they chose to purchase a house. Where they sent you to school. And maybe those choices weren’t the best for you. Maybe you don’t fit in where you are now. But you still managed to survive four years of high school and have a few meaningful experiences along the way. There are seven billion other people out there. Seven billion. Are you really pessimistic enough to believe that you wouldn’t get along with any of them?
Remember that next time you’re in a funk.  Something (or someone) really could be just around the corner.


1 a { 06.20.17 at 8:28 am }

I’ll have to remember this for my daughter. She has trouble making friends because she is impatient with kids her age. She gets along great with adults for the most part. And my husband has taught her to find something she likes about a person and mention it to them as a conversation starter. But she just hasn’t clicked with anyone. When she does, it’s always a person we meet at the park that we’ll likely never see again. So, 7 billion people left to try, more or less…I guess I’ll tell her that next time she worries about not having a best friend.

2 Beth { 06.23.17 at 6:38 am }

Yes, this is so true. I live in a small town and I love it but sometimes it feels so small. I feel like I will never meet anyone new and will be trapped in the endless loop of trying to make friendships out of nothing. But then I do meet someone new and I am reminded of just the point you make above.

a – I think that is great wisdom to share with your daughter. My older daughter has struggled with friendships with other kids, always feeling more comfortable with adults. Preschool was brutal for her, socially, because she didn’t connect with any of the kids. It was heart breaking to watch and feel helpless. In the back of my mind I always hoped she just hadn’t met the right friend yet and it would eventually get better.
And then kindergarten rolled around and it did. She has friends and is so happy. Your daughter will find her people, sometimes it just takes longer than it feels like it should.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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