Several years ago, a friendship of many, many years died. It had been on its way out for some time and I knew that it was no longer healthy for me, but I was still very sad to see it go. This person had meant so much to me – held me when I cried, encouraged me to take leaps, cheered me on when I finally did. Overtime, the friendship wasn’t serving either of us and it slowly faded away. I don’t think ill of this person, and I am sure that the person has well wishes for me, but we really don’t have a relationship anymore.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not good at letting go. I hold on to men who don’t care about me; I obsess about friends who treat me poorly; I spend days thinking about the mistakes I committed. Even happy memories become painful ones because I know they are gone.
I am attempting to make major shifts in my life, including letting the things not meant to be to be that. My instinct is to think and obsess, to replay memories and decide where I went wrong, but I am working hard to fight that urge. I want someone to hand me a formula for the most effective way to do this, but there isn’t one. The best I can come up with is a lot of love, gratitude and compassion.
I recently watched The Forgotten Kingdom, a movie made in Lesotho. It’s funny how a place can look completely foreign and just like home at the same time. It brought a flood of memories – walking underneath the big blue sky, faces of my daily life, nights watching the stars outside of my house, the first time Lesotho felt like a place I belonged. I cried body shaking tears and then I stopped. I looked outside my window at the Chicago sky and understood my place, even if I don’t truly understand it.
One evening, as I was sitting down to write about something else, I received an email from a friend about accepting and embracing the lives put in front of us. He said the things that aren’t apart of our future matter just as much as the things that are. “Breaking up is hard to do, whether it’s with a person or a place, but sometimes the time has come to move on, and we can’t let our attachment to the past limit our possibilities for the future.”
This hit me so hard, because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last year.
Although it often triggers me, my past is not checkered or riddled with struggles. It actually contains a lot of blessings, but all of them are no longer part of my future. As my friend continued to say, “So let us celebrate! And let us appreciate! And let us honor the people and places that have made our lives wonderful, whether we speak of these people in the past tense, the present tense, the future tense, or some combination thereof!”
Today I woke up feeling lonely and struggling with what is gone and what’s not present. As the day progressed, love started to pop up and I realized I have so many amazing things in my life. I just needed to stop looking back or forward to see them.
Let’s honor our lives. Let’s thank the people that broke our hearts and the people’s whose hearts we’ve broke, the friends that faded away and the employers that rejected us. Let’s celebrate the places we once lived on and the people we used to be.
Our lives are specific and we are where are meant to be, even if those reasons aren’t entirely clear. We don’t need to find the answers and dig out the meaning, but we can be grateful. We can be compassionate.
Honor your life. Live it fully and cherish the good that exists. We can’t undo what’s been do and we can’t predict what will happen now, but, my goodness, we can seize the now.
I want to move on. I want a limitless future. I want to seize.