Sometimes you have to let go of a relationship, not because you don’t care about the person or people with whom you were once close, but because there’s nothing growing or good or real or substantial holding things together anymore. We grow together and sometimes we grow apart, and this happens in romantic relationships and long-term friendships, as well. Sometimes we cling or we grasp because we just can’t bear the idea of having things change. Most of us tend to resist the unknown until circumstances become unbearable, or we find ourselves dreading plans, or feeling resentful about time and energy we’re spending on a situation that just doesn’t feel right anymore.
Sometimes connections are borne from circumstances; you meet another mom in your prenatal yoga class, and go through the end of your pregnancy together, and maybe you meet for tea that first year, and compare notes on motherhood, lack of sleep, aching boobies, your partner’s support, or lack of it, how much sex you’re having, and when to start solid food. Maybe your babies become friends, and then one day, years later, that little toddler who was once so cute starts bashing your kid in the face with his toy truck, or hitting him over the head with his bag of beach toys, and your friend just stands there. Maybe you decide to step in, rescue your kid, and parent your friend’s child, and that isn’t received well. Or maybe you try to talk to your friend when it happens for the fourth or fifth time, and your friend becomes defensive and angry.
Other examples—you date someone and you think “this is it!” because the first three months are so amazing, so amazing, and no one has ever understood you this way, or been so attentive and present and hot for you, and in your face, and then eight months later you don’t even recognize this person who’s too busy to take your call during the day, and too swamped to make plans on the weekends. Or maybe you make a friend at work, and you’re both dealing with the same unreasonable boss, and you bond over lunches and text each other at night, things like, “Can you believe what she said at that meeting?” and, “Someday she’ll work for us!” And then one day you quit, or you’re fired because you had the audacity to say no, you would not go and get coffee, that was not in your job description, and this is not why your parents took two jobs and a second mortgage on their house, and now you work somewhere else, and you and your friend have nothing to talk about anymore. Or maybe you bond with a friend while you’re both single. Maybe you find a great wing-man, and you’re on the town every weekend, beach volleyball by day, bars and clubs by night, until your buddy meets some girl, and now you’re on your own again.
The point is, things change and people change, and sometimes we bond in times of stress or duress or excitement. Some things are lasting and real and deep, and some are of the moment, of the time, of an era. Also, people change and shift and grow. How someone was when you met them five years ago is not how they are today. You are not who you were five years ago, either. Transitions are hard. Goodbyes are hard. Acceptance is hard. Sometimes people feel all this stuff but they just don’t want to put the words to it, they want you to figure it out. Maybe you’ve been that person who just didn’t know how to have the awkward conversation, so you just let something fade. No one wants to be the person to say, “I don’t want to pursue this friendship anymore,” and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that, either. Sometimes we long for closure. We aren’t having the same experience as our friend. We aren’t feeling that distance or dissonance, or maybe we are, but we just don’t want to accept it. The truth is, some things will never be explained, and our best hope for closure is acceptance.
We love for things to be stable. We want to count on some things, and some people. Hopefully you have a few true friends who’ve been with you through thick and thin, and are more like family than anything. Hopefully you have some family members you adore, but if you want to count on something, count on the reality that people and circumstances are always shifting. Count on your ability to show up for yourself, and to open to reality as it is, or work on that. Spend your time and energy on those things that light you up. Share your gifts, even as the ground moves beneath your feet, and you aren’t sure what will happen next. Give it everything you’ve got, and trust that when it’s time to release something, it’s okay. Life is full of loss, and it’s probably good that we understand that, and practice dealing with it. It’s also full of joy and beauty. Our work is to shift and move and open and breathe, not to cling and grasp. Trust your process. Wishing you the strength to be true to yourself, to trust your gut, to say the hard things when they need to be said, but to do it with compassion, and to keep your heart open. Wish people well as they enter and exit your life, or as they stay on the path with you, grinning from time to time, weeping from time to time, and sharing in the adventure. As Ram Dass says, “We’re all just walking each other home.”
Sending you love, as always,