And not all those who leave us stay away.

After a few days of binging cable news and not an end in sight, I decided that on Friday night, I would just let myself sleep. I slept late, like, until noon, like a teenager. I hate letting the day get away like that, but I also know that at some point in the week, I do need to give my body what it wants. I shut off my alarm and just slept. It’s decision that’s packed with anxiety, as I have no internal alarm. I wake up when I wake up, and I never know what time it’s going to be. It’s always a bit of a surprise when I look in at the clock, a bit of a jolt that I still haven’t figured out how to deal with. Still, I try not to be too harsh with myself. It’s the year of self-compassion, and integrity, and boundaries, but more on that at a later date.

I saw a text from a friend of mine, and then I turned on the TV. The results were staring me in the face. I should have known what to do in that moment, but I didn’t. As a matter of fact, I had not a clue what to do with myself. After some internal debate, I went out and ran some errands, bought a large pizza because I’ve been putting off going to the grocery store, and I came back home. I was in much the same situation as I had been when I awoke, except this time I had a large pie. Once the sun went down, I decided to crack open a beverage, and then the night began. I didn’t want to be as alone as I had felt at times during quarantine. It was time for a “Night Out.”

I talked to friends, both via text and on the phone. I talked with a good friend of mine, my former roommate, the one who moved down to Florida. It’s a strange thing to have someone sound so close, but to know that you can’t go and see them regularly, or to know that because of the pandemic, seeing them is probably not the best idea. It had been a while since we last checked in, and so we talked for a while, while he was in the process of making dinner. We covered some new things, and some old things, but the cadence of our conversations has remained by and large the same. It still blows my mind that we’ve known each other almost our entire lives, and that our friendship, our relationship to each other, has only gotten stronger.

Then I did something that I didn’t plan.

I texted a friend of a friend, and asked if he’d heard from someone I hadn’t talked to in a while. I wasn’t worried, more just concerned. It had been quite some time since I’d last spoken to that person, and it really does throw you off when someone so close to you just falls out of your life, and you don’t necessarily know the reason why. I’ve always hated those types of endings. The uncertainty bothers me beyond belief. It was time to get to the bottom of the mystery, even if I didn’t like the answer, ever if I had to admit some issues or faults of my own.

When we’re young, we make friends like it’s nothing. We don’t even give it that much thought. I think that a lot of my friends were the result of common interests, maybe even built on liking a certain toy or television program or cartoon. I remember that people liked the way that I drew, and I miss drawing more than I miss a lot of things in my life. I could pick up a pencil and paper, but it’s daunting. Many days, it’s hard to figure out where to start.

As you get older, the hardest or one of the hardest things to wrap my mind around is that sometimes people will fall out of your life, no matter what they may have meant to you at one time. Maybe there was a falling out, and maybe there wasn’t anything at all. People are growing and changing all of the time, and sometimes people grow apart. I think I finally understand what that means. I remember that my group of friends used to be much larger, but maybe all that means is that we all sacrificed some of our individuality in order for the group to remain intact. One of the really beautiful parts of getting older is allowing yourself to become who you are, even if it means that your circle gets that much smaller.

This particular friend I called, definitely meant a lot at one time, and frankly still means a lot, more than I anticipated. You don’t realize how much you miss something or how much something meant until it isn’t there anymore. It’s amazing how many people you just kind of accept are gone, but not all of your friendships in life have to go that way. Some will come back, but you have to be willing to put in the effort.

Sometimes we have to be willing to pay the price for something that we love. We have to swallow our pride, or be willing to have the uncomfortable conversations that this blog thrives on. Sometimes, you know what you messed up, and it’s hard to admit that you’re wrong. In other situations, maybe you don’t know what you did, but you know you’d give anything you could, admit whatever you need to admit in order to rectify the situation. Maybe that isn’t the best approach, but that’s the approach that I took. I won’t get into the details of the conversation, I’ll only let you know that it lasted about an hour, and the topics never got too deep. Maybe that’s what we both needed. It felt familiar and comfortable.

I hung up the phone and continued my night. The first step was taken, and it honestly felt good.

Sometimes, you have to fight for what you want to keep. I’ve tried to figure out what kind of person I want to be, whether I want to just let natural events and things take their course, or whether or not I want to affect the outcome. Life is a mixture of the two. Sometimes people really do grow apart for whatever reason, but sometimes, you’re just not ready to let someone go. Sometimes, there is still a reason to hang on, and give the key one more turn in hopes that the car still drives.

We become dependent on having certain people in our lives, and when that person leaves, it can make us feel like we’ve lost a part of ourselves. In fact, I would take it one step further and say that everyone you lose is losing a piece of yourself. When you lose a friend, you lose someone that you identified with at a certain point in your life. You saw a part of yourself in them, they gave you an outlet for your weird self, and when that goes, it can necessitate the need for reorientation. Sometimes there are friends that leave, but they come back, and we’re able to pick up immediately where we left off.

It’s this tricky year that I’m going through, that we’re all going through, trying to redefine who I am. It seems that any time I get close, something comes along and absolutely blows up my best laid plans, my faulty foundation, and I’m left to figure it out once again. I’m trying to be more intentional with my time and energy, and make sure that the people in my life are those that I really and truly want. I think I got one of them back, but I can’t say for sure. If it teaches me anything, it’s not to take friendships for granted, and to always be willing to put in the effort. Sometimes we become dependent on certain people for our identity, and while it may not be healthy, it does happen. It may seem like they’re about to leave, but sometimes, we’re just not ready to change. Thanks for reading.


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