I had a friend and we "shared the same trajectory", he and I were in similar situations:
- We saw each other at common functions 2-4 times a year and I've known him for about 10 years.
- We talked about life, his feelings, my feelings and our perspectives in conversations several times.
- Both of us came from technical backgrounds.
- Both of us had acquired a "nest egg" that we were dipping into for expenses.
- Both of us were in periods of our lives where we were not in the traditional IT/engineering workforce careers.
- Both of us were growing and finding ourselves. Him in lovely Colorado, and me in Arizona.
- Both of us in our late 40s and single (me with kids=home, him without=traveling)
- Both of us near neurotic in our pursuit of quality craftsmanship and attention to detail in our goods purchased. As we often admired the way the choices were investigated as much as the final solution itself. I share this oddity with several others that I know as well.
Simply, we were good friends.
And he recently chose to take his life.
And now I'm faced with looking into all these similarities and analyzing my own life, state of mind, thoughts and emotions. I believe that when a significant event happens, that it's a good time to stop, and take stock of your own perspectives so that I can learn from the experience.
Over the past year my friend and I followed different paths. He went to seek adventure, and I involved myself with my community, and my relationships with my family, found family and friends. I'm volunteering at hospice. I'm meditating regularly (every day) and exercising (almost every day) and really focusing on my mental and physical well being. In short the past year of my life has been a journey of exploration of who I am, what's important to me, and how to take the next steps in my life so that my internal values align with what I'm doing in the world. It's a joy to say with conviction that the past year has been one of the absolute BEST years of my life.
So why am I here and my friend isn't?
I honestly believe that it's because of my focus on positive connections with other human beings, and doing things for others in a selfless way that has contributed to my happiness and satisfaction with my life.
But it's more than just the actions. It's the mindset behind those actions.
We are all simply human first. Pursuing joy and avoiding suffering. Before race, politics or religion, we are all human. When you approach the world through that perspective, the way you experience the world changes, which makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE that you would expect it to make.
As I look back on the loss of my friend I am grateful for my choices and where I am today. I am thankful that I've returned to a place where my normal emotional state (my "set point") is one of gratitude and joy. I too have been in "that dark place of depression" and looking back on that point in time in my life I have a compassion and understanding for how horrible it is to be caught up in those depressive thoughts.
I will miss you my friend.