I was trying to figure out how many people in the world I care about. I think I’m pretty average in most respects so I feel I can represent most of the people who would read this. There are really only about 30 people in the world that I could give a shit about. Like, "Would I go to their funeral?" "Would I eat dinner with them?" This is the sort of criteria I used to narrow down this category of people. Now, what got me started thinking about this was Facebook (and MySpace for those of you who are beginners to social networking). These technological tools make the "friend" category much vaguer than it used to be. According to MySpace I have around 200 friends. My dad has 3000 friends. In Facebook I’m up to 40 friends, but I’m trying to really keep that under control. When I was a kid "friend" meant someone you physically hung out with on a regular basis.
I would like to introduce a separation theory to "friend" status. There’s your "friends" and then there's your "people." Call them what you will- Homies, peeps, cohorts, allies, mates, comrades, buddies, chums, confidants, etc... These are the people I want to focus on and their relevance to you. When you see something on the news (TV, internet, whatever...), your mind immediately tries to relate it to your life somehow. If you can’t tie it to yourself, then you think about those 30 people. They are the ones who mean the most to you. This is one of those lists you will have to keep in your head, because if you wrote it down, and anyone found it, you’d be in trouble (i.e.- “WTF?! Why I am I not on the list, dude?”). The list should be ever-changing and indefinite. It doesn’t have to be 30, that’s just a number I pulled out of my ass.
So now that I have defined the difference between friends and “friends,” I wanna get to the real meat of the discussion. The people who are IN your life- your top 30, if you will, are somewhat dictating your existence. If there’s an earthquake in Thailand and 50,000 people die, you might get sad for a minute and then go on about your day. But what if one of those people was in your top 30? Suddenly, that event takes on a whole new meaning for you. It’s tragic and horrible and you start visualizing the terror of the moment when it happened. Now, that earthquake is on your emotional radar, but only because one of your top 30 was involved.
Here’s a question- Do you choose your top 30 or does your top 30 choose you? What brought you to those people? Did you seek them out? Or did they just stumble into your life? The answers to those questions will inevitably have huge effects on your decision-making skills. I think most people fall into one of two categories: either they feel that they assembled their top 30, or their top 30 all appeared by chance.
I used to think that the people in my immediate vicinity were all random. Now I’m starting to think that maybe they’ve been hand-picked from day 1, and I didn’t even realize it. And perhaps each of those 30 people is there to teach me something and once it’s been taught, they disappear. What do you think?