My memories are marked by the friendships that accompanied different seasons of my life. Some, have been present for many and continue to do so now. While others faded – for better or for worse – and now no longer stand.
Similar to most I would assume, I have a terribly hard time when it comes to letting go of friendships, even when it is exactly what I should be doing. And so I’ve watched, with clenched knuckles and a guilt ridden conscious, as I’ve said Goodbye’s with no words and attempted to rearrange my friendships as a new season of my life began.
Some friendships reappear as if to remind you they were never really gone in the first place. I have one friend who I’ve known for years now – years in which we’ve spent drifting to and from each other, for good and for bad. We carry each other’s secrets with full hearts riddled with admiration until the next time our paths intersect, then we carry on where we left off. In doing so, we’ve never actually lost each other – I’m not sure we ever will.
Moving away from home is terrifying because you are naive if you don’t think the distance will close the doors on some of your friendships. It does, and it will continue to do so, and in that way we will forever be leaving pieces of who we are in the hands of people who will move on without us, just as we do the same for them.
But in a lot of ways, leaving my friends, and abandoning that season of my life, only strengthened the ties that led to what was once created. The most important friendships I’ve learned, are the one’s you can walk away from and yet carry with you for every day of your life. They define the meaning of “Coming Home” apart from airports and familiar buildings; they are the feeling in itself that I don’t think I could ever get tired off.
We never stop meeting people, though. And life is relentless in its abrupt and well-defined changes. Different seasons begin and different friends appear, and when it ends you either add to your collection of memories or take a few people by the hand and carry on with them in the next chapter. Contrary to my childhood beliefs, neither is bad.
As student’s, seasons become less representative of Fall’s and Winter’s and rather of academic years, University’s, and High school’s – to a lesser degree, things such as “break-up seasons”, and the seasons defined by the death of a family member, and so on. Some last longer than others.
But whether we like it or not, a lot of life is a game of adding and subtracting people in our lives, oftentimes without too much choice – and there’s nothing wrong with it. You meet people who reshape your world, while simultaneously holding on to the one’s who have for so long defined it, and you cling to what you can while watching to see who sticks around a little longer.
We all have those people in our lives, the self-proclaimed life-long friends you promise to drink wine with when you’re 35 and the kids are in the backyard. While the knowledge that anything can happen hides in the back of our minds, it doesn’t define our goals to still have lives that intertwine years from now. I have several of these that I’m not worried about – one’s where I’ve seen distance and timing and different points of view fail to even put a dent in the structure of the friendship. And so I carry them through different seasons, as they continue to define different parts of my life in various different ways. Just as life seems to just happen there is also a degree to which we control who we want in our lives – there are some people, where you know you just refuse to let go.
At the end of the day, I’m thankful for the people who came into my life – the one’s who stayed and the one’s who left, and the one’s who are just arriving. The people you meet leave fingerprints on who you are – sometimes they leave scars – but regardless, they create you. In that sense, we are endlessly becoming; shaped by the momentary inflictions of those who surround us, giving away pieces of our hearts to those present right now, and adding to our own with what we’re given. We’re not just ourselves, we’re everything that’s happened to us, and everyone we’ve ever opened up our hearts for. We’re the changing of seasons defined by the presence of the people in them, and that’s more than okay with me.