I’ve wanted to write a post about this since I started blogging, and haven’t. Because, well… it’s pretty darn personal. But tonight something struck me, and I decided to open a bottle of Montepulciano and go for it.
In the beginning
I used to think that life would get easier as I grew up. Turns out, not so much. And that’s true in a lot of ways, but tonight I’m thinking about friendship. When we were younger, friendships were easy, right? Friends came easily and stayed easily. But the older I get, the more I notice that what used to be so simple now takes some serious work. Friendships (and all relationships) require tending and nurturing in order to grow. And sometimes, even that isn’t enough.
I’ve lost a number of friends slowly over the years… distance, time, and differing life circumstances have gotten in the way. This I can understand. I don’t necessarily like it, but I can wrap my head around why, and how, I grew apart from those people. We all have people in our lives that fall into this category, don’t we? Childhood best friends, college roommates… people we’ll always love, but who just don’t have a regular presence in our lives anymore. It’s sad, but it’s a part of growing up.
And then there’s the other phenomena that I’ve experienced this year: losing friends rather abruptly, and for seemingly no reason at all. This is where I struggle. Trust me, I’ve had alllll the thoughts go through my head on this subject. “What’s going on here? Is it me? Am I a terrible friend? A terrible person? What’s changed?” I blamed myself for a long time. Because what’s the common denominator in all these situations? Me. And that means I’m the problem, right?
I was the common denominator because it’s MY LIFE. Obviously. So just because I’ve had a couple of failed* (we’ll come back to that word in a minute) friendships, it doesn’t automatically make me the problem, or the reason why.
I’ve decided it’s as simple as this: We are human, and therefore we are constantly evolving. Sometimes relationships evolve with us. Sometimes they don’t.
For me, I’ve invited a lot of change into my life in the past year. I’ve changed my career, my mindset, and my goals. It only makes sense that some of my friendships will change as well. And that includes losing friends, as well as gaining friends. So perhaps these seemingly abrupt losses of friendship weren’t so abrupt after all.
If we choose to look at it that way, the why? isn’t the question that matters so much as how we choose to feel about it.
How do we find bliss amidst all this? The truth is, I don’t have all the answers. I’m trying to figure it out too. But I find a certain sense of peace in this quote by Nayyirah Waheed:
“when you meet that person. a person. one of your soulmates. let the connection. relationship. be what it is. it may be five mins. five hours. five days. five months. five years. a lifetime. five lifetimes. let it manifest itself the way it is meant to. it has an organic destiny. this way if it stays or if it leaves. you will be softer. from having been loved this authentically. souls come into. return. open. and sweep through your life for a myriad of reasons. let them be who. and what they are meant.”
Take a minute and let that sink in. Read it again. Slowly.
“this way if it stays or if it leaves. you will be softer.”
Don’t you just love that? Every time I read it, I am gifted with the reminder that people come into and out of our lives for a reason. It also gives me permission to think about “failed” friendships and relationships in a different light. They aren’t failed, they’ve simply run their course in their current incarnation. “let them be who. and what they are meant.”
So yes, I lost someone this year who I considered to be my best friend. I miss her. But even though our friendship as I knew it is over, I can rest easy in the fact that what we had won’t change. Her friendship, and every friendship or relationship I’ve ever had, have helped make me the person I am today. I’ve learned from those friendships, grown in them, and in the words of Nayyirah Waheed, I am, “softer. from having been loved this authentically.”
And I can find comfort in that.