Constant New Cities: Resetting Connections: Death Stranding; Death Stranded...

October 16th, 2022

I Am Death Stranded. Every friendship dies off when moving to the next city. Then what can make friendships stand the test of time?

  Death stranding, a game that has heavy philosophical ties of connecting with others and how, if we’re alone, without connections, the world is worse off. Each time I move to a brand new city, because I’m only staying in each city a short time, past friendships aren’t strong enough to withstand the test of time. It’s almost like a backpacker at a hostel, you meet with others there and make temporary friends. You go places, hang out, all knowing that whenever one of you leave, that relationship fades away.

  In the anime, Heroines run the show, the main character made 3 connections within the first few days. In contrast, it’s been 3 weeks since I moved to a new city and haven’t made a single strong connection. Friendships are strengthened with time and meetups. Without both, those relationships will fade by the time you visit that city again. I met someone interesting at a friend’s wedding and had an enjoyable chat, so I invited him out for board games. Board games, usually with 4-6 people, are deeply impersonal. All conversations are group ones and 1-1 chats are few and far between. Even though I might be fine arranging another meetup in a year from now, would he? In the end, I was just someone he chatted to at a wedding and played some board game with. That’s the extent of our relationship.

  As I travel around, what is it that could make relationships last? Is it interests? Activities? Personality? Philosophy? There was a theory that, since we’re mammals and always grouped up for survival, friendships form within those groups to help us survive. When we leave the pack, those existing friendships no longer help us survive, thus die off. How many times have seemingly great relationships died because you left the pack? That is school, university, moving workplaces or moving away from your current city? At my previous workplace, I had a colleague with similar thoughts as myself, even then, our relationship became non-existent as soon as I left.

  Reene Brown mentioned being vulnerable with others and how that can form stronger connections. Without being vulnerable to some degree, relationships stay superficial. Where everything’s on the surface layer of “positive vibes”. Real talk can advance a shallow connection to one that can stand the test of time. After that, instead of being seen as a mere bundle of interests, you can be seen as who you truly are.

  I used to be good buddies with someone from school, but it started to fade away after he no longer played the same game and school ended. It was only after we talked about philosophies of life, sharing our similar thoughts and myself being vulnerable did the relationship turn solid. Now, even as we both live in different cities, I believe that a meetup would be met with open arms, whether it’s a year or decade from now.

  Too bad those deep conversations are difficult, especially since meeting new people, without common connections, is difficult. Soon enough, my journey will continue around the world. But, I wonder if, by the end of this journey, I’d be death stranded. All my connections in previous cities fade away as I hop from place to place. Then, even in my home city, those once strong connections become a few loose strands.

New Year’s Messages

January 5th, 2022

Happy New Years. All around the world this line is being repeated several million times in a span of 24 hours. It’s said to your friends, family, neighbours and stork clerks. With the rise of digital messaging, many would send out Happy New Year’s messages to those around them as well. I’m the same, every year I send out a Happy New Year’s message to everyone I’ve consistency talked to over the year. I do not know why I’ve done this, but it’s been a practice I’ve followed for the last 8 years.

 As the years pass by, my friend circle dwindles down to nothing. As an overly private person, I don’t make connections easy and after school and University ended, that has become a near impossible task. Last year, after seeing a future with nobody to send Happy New Year messages to, I decided to expand the list to people that I wanted to get to know better as well. Eventually, people will get busy in their lives, without using social media to remind other of your existence, it’ll fade away into dust. A simple greeting with a fun activity you did together, like playing board games, helps refresh your memory of why you continue to hang around them. It also gives a small talking point, so conversation doesn’t immediately die off.

 Every year, I send a New Year’s greeting to everyone I talked to and others I wanted to continue interacting with. Overtime, this list gets smaller and smaller and one day, there’ll be nobody left to message. I hope that this day doesn’t come and my practice of messaging people means I won’t be forgotten. So do you have a similar practice, where you message Happy New Year’s to people? What’s your criteria for messaging others?