Learning to let go

October 1st, 2015

It’s funny, just how much things change in the course of a few years.


When I was in middle school, my older sister told me that most friends we make in this life are temporary in some sense.


Whether they last a few days, a few months or a few years, most people who enter our lives on friendly terms will not remain there on a life-long basis.


I remember being rather offended by my sister’s remarks. How dare she insinuate that two of my best friends at 13 years old would not remain my friends throughout high school, college and the rest of my life?


Incidentally, I haven’t spoken to either of them in eight years, so I guess that proves her point well enough.


As I am working my way through my senior year, an insanely challenging and surreal undertaking, there are a great deal of adjustments I am having to make as I prepare to leave John Carroll behind in return for a new adventure.


One of these is accepting that, once I leave this place, there will be many friendships I have now that may not last.


Looking back, I’ve always had a hard time letting go of people to whom I have been close; it’s hard for me to toss friendships away as if they were nothing more than clutter on my desk.


Case in point: one of my really good friends from high school is actually an ex-boyfriend I dated for almost a year.


During our senior year of high school, my best friend and I had an absolutely asinine fight over God knows what, and did not speak to each other for about six months; yet we moved on and talk every day now.


I even try to make a point to keep up with old friends I haven’t seen in years, because I am desperate not to lose them.


Memories are a powerful anchor.


However, as time wears on, I’m realizing that sometimes, we have to let people go. Sometimes, it is the only option.


It is an inevitable fact: as people get older, they grow. In a few cases, they grow together. However, it is a pretty common tendency for people to grow apart and go their separate ways, especially throughout the formative years of high school and college.


Sometimes, friendships simply fade away, slipping out of our grasp like ever-evasive wisps of smoke.


However, there is an uglier fate for some friendships, as they become toxic and vile for all parties involved.


This can be due to a number of factors: new friends, ideological differences, massively inflated egos and so on. These, in turn, may cause people to metaphorically rip each other to shreds, causing a heinous amount of pain and trauma.


Let me tell you, break-ups with a significant other can be downright awful, but I’ve never had one that has been worse than a friendship imploding on itself.


A few years ago, as a naïve freshman starting college, when faced with a self-destructing high school friendship, I would have clung to it desperately.


Nowadays, let me tell you, it is exhausting to hold on to toxic, slowly-dying friendships, especially when you are the only one making any sort of attempt to fix the problem.  Oftentimes, it’s just not worth it.


Of course, I’m not suggesting you should just ditch all of your friends whenever there is any sort of conflict.


By the same token, it is okay to accept that all things—friendships included—end.


When faced with this, it’s okay to just let go.