“In the absence of information, we fill in the blanks with our imagination.” -Dave
Let me tell you the story of my best friend, Dave. I met Dave at a Denny ‘s on Walnut street in Bloomington, Indiana. I was a doe-eyed freshman in college and he was approaching his sophomore year. Winter time had just begun and my gray Crown Victoria was still covered with piles of snow as I drove the large beast into the parking lot. I made my way through the swinging doors of the restaurant and asked for an application. Dave was a server there. It was thanks to Dave that I got that job, secured him as my roommate months later, and made my way towards the cynical adulthood I would come to know in college.
Dave remembered everything by year. He would say, “Back in 1999 when the such and such album came out and the kids were drinking apple pucker and staying out too late.” Dave was in his 30’s but his references solidified the eras. He would reminisce about decades of good tv shows that later generations would never know. At any given time you can find him in a simple white-tee or a thrown-on button up with old jeans; electronic device in one hand, coffee in the other. Dave and I were friends during some of the most influential years of our lives; making the most out of college between small venue concerts and house parties, sliding into classes hung over, and getting food from the dorm cafeterias. We were living a micro-version of what we thought to be an adult life. Dave and I were a staple in what was so cleverly referred to as “The Oregon Trail Generation.” Not only did we grow up playing outside, but we were on the cusp of the end of “the dream.” We remained hopeful through philosophy classes, inspired through businesses classes, and moved by the hustle of the University setting.
Years later, Bachelor Degrees in hand with hopeful smiles and bright-eyed wonder we walked through the doors of corporate America. Corporate America giggled at us as we were escorted to our cubicles under horrible florescent lighting and our dreams of big money and managing were crushed. Welcome to entry-level.
We realized that we’d have student loans we could barely pay in shitty corporate jobs we never really wanted. We’d spend the next three years being cynical and bitter. We would write emails from corporate America and stay friends for what is going on 13 years now. We see the millennials go through the same buzz-kill only they don’t seem to be able to manage not having gotten their way.
To this day we bantered on and he inserts one liners to make sense out of the world. We discussed how graffiti in the bathroom had approached an all time low due to updated Facebook status and Instagram photos.
Dave still discusses life in years and we aren’t as cynical as we once were. We are often searching for meaning in life through banter. Looking back I now understand that the important part was the friendship. The important parts, the really important ones in life are relationships. They always have been and always will be.
So yesterday I gave you a homework assignment. It was to write down people in your life who either “fill your cup” or “empty your cup.” The cup represents your life.
Your cup never needs to be empty, but it also never needs to be overflowing. You give out some of yourself to fill the other people’s cups in your life. It is through these exchanges of truly mutual friendship that we are able to find our best self. A scenario could be that your best friend hit a tough time, so he or she might need to chat on the phone or confide in you. In essence of the meaning, in this moment that friend may be emptying your cup.
The cup needs to have a balance in it. Your life will never be completely devoid of people who “empty your cup.” People that empty your cup might be people who you work with, but you have to interact with them. Maybe a guy at work is just a total downer and he “empties your cup.” If you have to work with him day in and day out, find a way to have your cup filled when you get home. You have to decide practically with jobs, school, work, or general life responsibilities that those might require you to have people emptying your cup. So in turn dating a person who you put on the “empty your cup side” might not be practical.
If you are constant to surround yourself with more people who empty your cup then fill it, you may be trying to fix the people around you. The only one who can fix them is themselves. So take this time and consideration to start making your own life better by getting more people in your life that fill your cup. Interact with these people on a regular basis. If you get fulfillment out of helping others, make a weekly hobby of helping out somewhere or volunteering for a cause you love. Make a new list and incorporate things you do and places you go into that new list. A draining place might be work, but a place to fill your cup might be the gym. Household chores might be draining, but joining a social club might fill your cup. There will be balance as you allow yourself to find it. Being in constant awareness of this exercise will help you keep your energy and focus on things and people who give and take with a balance.