Sometimes I stick my foot in my mouth. It makes my heart push against my ribs and my skin clammy. Then I wish I could hit a button and restart.
Maybe restart that moment, or conversation. Entire interactions could be reset to solve how much anxiety I get.
While we can’t necessarily hit a big red button and reverse everything that happened. But maybe what we can do is take a step back and reflect.
A few years ago I took a step out of my friend circle. Its a long story full of sighs, but the tl;dr version is that I needed some time to reflect. Moving 3,000 miles away helped in taking that step, but it provided me with some breathing room to deal with my inner turmoil and grow.
In taking that step out of my friend circle, it also meant I was starting fresh. I could figure out who I was, and try on different hats.
I did not stop talking to all of my friends in Seattle. There were a few people that I kept in contact with through correspondence and text message. But there were many friends that remained at arms length with.
Recently, one of those friends got married. It had been some time since I had talked to this person, but I felt the need to say something. So I messaged them one day on Facebook to congratulate them on their marriage. They responded and we got talking.
It was weird at first, as it had been nearly 2 years since the last time we spoke. They’re part of that long story of sighs. At the end of that first conversation, we decided to talk on the phone on Tuesday night. And we did.
Tuesday came, and we spent a considerable amount of time talking about her wedding and marriage, and our history as friends.
We both felt this was a good restart. That after time for each of us to reflect, we were in a much better place to rekindle our friendship.
While we don’t necessarily get a life reset button, time can be the best way to restart. People need time to grow in their own lives, and reflect. Sometimes all you need is some breathing room.
I’ve read, or mostly read, A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan for two classes. And I’ll admit that I haven’t actually finished the book. Each time I read it, I got a little bit farther. I intend on finishing it one day. Hopefully this summer on my crusade to read one book a week.
One thing I did learn from that book, is that time slips away from you. Life moves so fast. And people change in the blink of an eye.
Things have changed a lot in the two years since my move to New Hampshire. If I told my 23-year-old self that I would only be friends to one person in that photo, well, I’m sure back then I would make a guess and be entirely wrong about who that friend was.
I could tell myself that one of us is getting married, two of us are in school or about to start grad-school, and one of us is working (at least as far as I know).
In the two years since I’ve moved, I’ve only kept in contact with one of those people. Sure, our letters are few and far between, but I cherish them.
I’ve changed a lot in two years. I distanced myself from friends that were unhealthy for my 23-year-old self.
Maybe the way I ended things was extreme. I didn’t just burn bridges, I decided to blow them up. And while to some that is probably a questionable action, it was probably going to be the only way I’d learn.
My motto has been “Go big, or go home.” I suppose I’ve chosen to take that to the extreme.
There have been amazing people that have come into my life. They’ve all wandered in at the right time.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players:
they have their exits and their entrances;
and one man in his time plays many parts,
his acts being seven ages.”
–As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII.
I’ve always believed in this quote ever since I read it in high school. And its true. People wander into your life and stay for the lesson you needed to learn from them. Sometimes they’ll continue to linger, but other times they’ll join the audience and continue to watch the play of your life, or they’ll take their leave well before the final bow.
We all serve a purpose in the lives of others. Sometimes it depends on if we’re able to recognize what that is – rarely do we know that answer.