Monday, September 24, 2012

Reasons, seasons and lifetimes

Pic borrowed from Upbeats and Downbeats
I'm all for holding on, but if there is one thing I've learned the hard way, it is letting go.

Someone once explained it to me like this: life is like a highway. You're travelling along on your journey and along the way there are on ramps where people join in, and there are off ramps where people split away to continue on their journey separate from you. Perhaps even sometimes you are the one taking an off ramp and separating from those whom you've been travelling with for a while, and entering from an on ramp on someone else's life highway. It is not (usually) personal (well, perhaps sometimes it is), it isn't necessarily your fault, it isn't that there is something wrong with you - just is. This is an ongoing process - it is part of life. The point is everyone is not meant to travel with you for a lifetime.

When I was younger though, I wanted every relationship to be a
"till death do us part" commitment. It took many a broken heart for me to realize (it would seem) it is seldom going to be the case. Over time I had learnt to become quite good at letting go. I've come to understand the value of making the most of the moments you have and not living with regret. Sometimes the five minutes in the cue in the grocery store is the only five minutes you'll ever have - ever meant to have with a person. What have you done with it? I want to believe that you would use it wisely: to enjoy it to the full, to laugh, have compassion, offer advice where it is asked/needed, to learn and to move on. 

I find that too many people assume they'll have more time somewhere in the future and therefore waste the precious five minutes they have. People are often looking for a contingency: we should get together sometime; I'll give you a call later; let's go for coffee. They never do... and the moment is gone... forever.

I discovered last night someone 'unfriended' me on Facebook. One of my first thoughts was to send another friend request. Part of me wanted to believe perhaps somehow it happened by accident. My second thought turned toward the last days of that friendship where the person wouldn't answer their door or their phone, and always having excuses later on to try and seem polite as to not hurt my feelings. But in my heart I knew that this friendship - for whatever reason - was dying a slow death. So I decided naaah! I wasn't going to attempt to resurrect the dead; flog a dead horse. I was going to simply accept it gracefully.

A few times in my life when someone decided to "take an off ramp" and separate from our relationship, I had tried desperately to make them stay, in an attempt to avoid having to face the heartache of their deserting me. In effect, in most instances, I have really only prolonged the inevitable. Also, usually after their indicating that they wanted to leave, the friendship had never been the same - I guess one can sort of describe it as the umbilical cord having been severed. It's not as if you can pretend it didn't happen, and neither can you exactly glue it back together, now can you?

In the event I had managed to make them stay a little longer I would usually, after just a short while - sometimes only an hour, or a day or two (maybe a week) - discover that I would have been better off crying for a day and getting over it; That I had now in effect fought to have something that - if I really thought about it - I didn't want anymore anyway. Now I had become the villain for wanting to end the friendship, and feeling guilty for hurting someone else's feelings.... What was I thinking?! 

Nope! If there is one thing I've learnt over the years, it is the art of letting go. Neither do I cry for a day anymore - sometimes only a few minutes ;) Since I've tried to make the most of every moment I had, I seldom feel regret for having missed out on anything and I feel free to move on with my journey - looking out for who else might join my highway from an on ramp up ahead - to not hold on too long that I miss out on the beauty that is waiting to be embraced up ahead.

Reasons, seasons and lifetimes... for sure. Treat the time you have as the special gift that it is. You never know just when it won't be yours anymore.  

I never did send that friend request. Travel your journey well, my friend. It was fun while it lasted.       

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