Quality Relationships From Life Responsibilities
by Bryce Mahoney, Darby Project Director
I am a social butterfly. No kidding. Just ask my wife. She is not as big of a fan as I am at meeting complete strangers.
I will find my way into a conversation I think is interesting, and will talk to people for hours about NOTHING. I thrive off connecting with other people. This is both a blessing and a curse, as it makes me feel lonely if I have not had contact with anyone in a while (like a couple hours). Due to my growing maturity, I understand not everyone is like this, and it is actually difficult to make friends when you get older. Life gets in the way, our hobbies change or disappear, and for some it creates a hidden disdain for existence. That disdain is called resentment. Should it be that way? How does a grown man find time between family and work to find REAL friends, not just acquaintances?
Our days are filled with a laundry list of responsibilities both personal and professional. I have learned that I must turn some of those responsibilities into opportunities to connect with other people.
The first responsibility that comes to mind is fitness. We are responsible for keeping ourselves physically strong which oftentimes goes to the back burner. I don’t put it on the bottom of the pile because I lack the time, I do it because I lack the motivation. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand this until I started working out in groups. That’s when I truly understood the necessity of being in a group of like-minded people. For me, this started when I got serious about training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In Jiu Jitsu, you HAVE to train with another person (otherwise you look like a floundering idiot). This necessity showed me that I needed to be a trustworthy training partner who showed up to class regularly. Being a good partner held me accountable in other aspects of my life too. Nutrition, cleanliness, and strength all play a role in training Jiu Jitsu. If you eat like crap, you’re going to feel it on the mat. If you stink, no one is going to train with you. If you are not getting stronger, you’re going to be a weak training partner. It was through this new-found motivation that I saw a change in my life. I started MAKING time to accomplish these goals that would then help me get better at Jiu Jitsu. This made me a better training partner and made me a happier person. This new amount of happiness then poured into my family life and my professional life as well. I have since found other ways to multi-task my desire to meet people that share similar interests.
5 years ago I was introduced to F3. A men only fitness group that meets at churches, schools, parks, and anywhere that a group of guys can park their car and workout for 45 minutes. The format of F3 is similar to military PT so it was easy to stay with for me. It introduced me to men that were not in my typical parameters for friends and challenged me to step outside of my norms. They possessed the key component I needed to see, motivation. Their desire to get up at 0545 and workout with me, rain or shine, hot or cold was the building block on what I now consider to be a group of true friends. Friends that have given me employment when I needed it, offered me rides to and from the airport, and have gone above and beyond what is expected of someone. For this, I call them brothers. It has been the closest thing I have found to the military since getting out. A lifesaver.
Answer to loneliness?
I say all this to encourage those out there that are searching for something. Searching for an answer to their loneliness. Yes, we get lonely we get older and It’s ok. But it is up to you to make a change. First you must reflect on who you are, and what you are passionate about. Start small, start easy. If you are working out alone, try joining a group. Even if it sucks, give it a try. I guarantee you will at least push yourself harder being around other people. If it doesn’t work, do not get discouraged, try something else. Volunteer somewhere, join a softball league (yes, old people play softball), take a class at a local community center. There are tons of choices to get involved with something, you just need to take the first step. And the second one. And maybe a third, but that’s life sometimes.
Bryce Mahoney is the Director for GallantFew’s Darby Project. Mahoney’s resume includes two combat deployments with the 3rd Ranger Battalion and 1 deployment as a Long Range Surveillance Team Leader, overseas contracting and construction project managing. He is a co-founder of O.R.P (Outside Rally Point), an outreach group that connects veterans through outdoor activities. He also holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
About Darby Project
The Darby Project’s mission is to facilitate a successful transition for Army Ranger veterans from active military service to a civilian life filled with hope and purpose. They grow the Ranger network to empower trained Rangers leaders to best support their mission to Rangers and their families. The look to cultivate a nationwide network of successfully transitioned Rangers that engage locally with their Ranger communities. Motivated Darby Project leaders connect and regularly meet to participate in physical activities, fitness programs, and community service projects. Acceptance in a structured Ranger community provides Rangers a familiar environment upon transition and continues the culture of leadership expected of a Ranger beyond the uniform.
Want to connect with Darby Project? Reach out them here.