Knowing when to grow – and when to let go.
I’m a professional woman in my 30s. School and University, both distant memories from a time I no longer belong in. I have it all figured out. We all do..don’t we?? By now our lives are set up, we know our paths, we have our careers figured out and a tight social group. We know exactly who we are and where we’re going….NO. no we don’t and that’s OK!
In our teens, friendships are like, “sooooo” important. Everything else; family, school, hobbies, become secondary. Friends are our lives. We navigate those awkward teenage years together, gossip about our first kiss, mend broken hearts, imagine our idyllic futures, discover new things about the world and ourselves. Our friends are the only ones who “get us”. Then we grow older. Other things become more prominent; work, partners, children. Our friends though, will always be there. Once again, incorrect. Friendships need ongoing nurturing and sometimes , as sad as it is to admit, some friendships fizzle out. Sometimes after a year, sometimes after 20.
Something I’ve learnt in my 30s is that some friendships, whilst so important for a time, just aren’t meant to last.
People grow up but sadly they also grow apart. How many times have you looked at one of your closest friends and realised, you have absolutely nothing in common? It’s a friendship based on “remember whens” and “that time in 8th grade when you..” She’s changed but hey so have you and that’s OK.
As a child we are told to “play with Sandy” and “sit beside Tracey”. Friendships are forced and kindness is demanded of children. As adults the same rules don’t apply. Something I’ve learnt in my 30s is..some people just aren’t nice. A dictionary will tell you that the true definition of friendship is “affection arising from mutual esteem and good will” Mutual…something that works two ways.. Friends should add to our lives and lift us up. Friendship should not be based on a shared history alone. You could meet your closest friend tomorrow, at work, in the gym, walking in the park. Longevity does not a friend make!
Friends are one of life’s greatest gifts. Cherish good friends and be a great one in return. For those who are now ships in the night? Remember them fondly, they have helped shape you, but now, guilt free and with a smile, let them go.
As Ally Condie so eloquently put it – Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.
By Christine R.