There is nothing greater than unpredictable Missouri weather – it always brings nice surprises. In a time span of three days, the thermometer outside my house went from 30 degrees to 60 degrees and again back down to a blustery 18 degrees. But I’m not complaining because I took advantage of that 60 degree weather and set out on a 7 mile hike with Miley through the Gans Creek Wildlife area just outside of Columbia. I always choose this trail because there is hardly ever anyone on it which means I can not only let Miley roam free but I also get the woods to myself. I rather prefer hiking alone than with a group of people mainly for the self-reflection and solitude it brings. At times, there are entire sections of the trail where my mind shuts off, my feet naturally shuffling one in front of the other, and before I know it an hour has passed. The only thing I’m focused on is putting one foot in front of the other, listening to the sounds of the wild and making sure Miley doesn’t fall through the ice that she is apparently hell-bent on walking – I mean running – over. Case in point below.
But like I said, being in the wild brings with it a lot of time for self-reflection. Interestingly enough, after writing about how to nurture my friendships one of the things that’s been on my mind over the past week is about the quality and quantity of the friendships in my life. I thought about some of the famous sayings I’d heard before. Like how Henry Adams said, “One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, and three are hardly possible.” And of course, the unknown, very wise people who said, “It’s better to have one friend of great value than to have many with little value,” or even, “Don’t pity the girl with one true friend. Envy her. Pity the girl with just a thousand acquaintances.” No friendship statements ring more true to me than at this stage of my life. And the science backs it up.
Research shows that people who have strong friendships with just a few people are more likely to report being happier in life than those who are constantly surrounded by acquaintances. I imagine the explanation of that would be the depth of the friendships around you. Acquaintances are fine but they are also only surface-level relationships. You can’t dig deep in those circumstances or create an atmosphere where the other person truly gets who you are. Isn’t that what we all search for? Someone who gets us at our core? And while acquaintances are fine, I’ve realized I’m not okay with just fine. I want great. I want deep. I want ever-lasting. So even though I can count my friends on one hand and I sometimes get jealous of the girl on Facebook who is always posting pictures of her out with a new person every week, I actually feel like I might just be the lucky one.