Musings, Life



I have trouble giving up on people. I had a conversation with my aunt the other day, and she told me that this was simply a reflection of my values as a human being. I found comfort in knowing that my family raised me with this tenacity, and persistence to never give up on those we care about without a fight, but there are some fights that can't be won.

As a child, I was very sociable. I made friends with everyone - classmates, my mom's girlfriends, my siblings' younger buddies. I never made trouble with friendships and stayed away from drama, and that was enough back then. I had a solid group of friends in high school and networked efficiently in college, both in Manila and DC.

As I grew older and wiser, having had more experiences, I became more selective about with whom I spent my time. I filtered. I found really good friends. I drifted from others. Naturally, as I became more selective, I became more stubborn and my grip grew a little tighter. I handpicked those whom I kept close.

I’ve finally learned that we can’t corral people into a pen and lock them away forever. They won’t stay put and we shouldn’t have to convince them otherwise. It seems obvious enough that relationships, like all other things, change, grow or dissipate. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to accept.

Time has turned close friends into distant acquaintances, lovers into strangers with memories. Our lives are in constant motion. We change each day. Sometimes, we forget that the people who surround us also change every day. Some relationships may grow together, shift and bend in ways that make them fit comfortably. Some relationships are more forgiving and hang on for the sake of the love that was once binding and now hangs around as a memory of for the sake of shared history. But some don’t last. Some get destroyed, some disappear slowly, and some cease to exist abruptly.

Quite frankly, I viewed this reality as something negative for a long time. It really pissed me off to know that the people to whom I was so invested in could quite easily abandon our friendship. It always felt really sad, like deceit, like abandonment. The kind of feeling that makes tears well up in the back of your throat; the kind of sad that lingers and lingers.

Granted, it’s not always so emotional, because I have also learned to compartmentalize, and feel this is the healthiest emotional undertaking one should master. But sometimes, it does reach that point and poof, that person with whom you shared so much is no longer part of your life.

The last time I went through this, I tried to separate myself from the experience and understand things a little differently. I realized that people come into your life for a reason and spend the time they’re meant to spend with you that they’re meant to spend. When they’re no longer in your life, it’s because they’re no longer supposed to be there. To go completely Coelho, perhaps they're not meant to be a part of our Personal Legend, because it seems "the universe is no longer conspiring" to help you stay in each other's lives.

Upon choosing to think about things in this way, it’s incredibly easy to be positive and forgiving. Instead of focusing on the loss, you can start to focus on the beautiful things each person brought into your life. Knowing that your relationship had a purpose and convincing yourself that ultimately, the purpose was achieved is a great way to gain closure.

We are all moving and changing. We need different things from the world at different times in our lives. We want different things. We view the world in different lights. We are all essentially just bumping into each other, stuck together until another crack in the road sends us free falling into something or someone else.

You don’t have to feel loss. You don’t have to feel sad. You can view your individual relationships as meaningful for what they were. You can send them on their way with blessings when they’re through, while you can look ahead and move forward.

It's alright to keep your friends close. Nurture your friendships and do right by the people you love. Let people know that you love them. Surround yourself with friends who make you better. You can’t save all friendships and the ones that can’t be saved are sometimes the ones that don’t need to be. You can never know the direction in which people will go and grow and change.

Try your best to keep the people you really appreciate in your field of vision at all times and make the effort to make them feel wanted in your space, but understand that life has its own way of throwing us around. Understand that these are just realities. 

Trying to preserve what was may be the most detrimental thing you can do for your evolution as a person. Prolonging the end of a friendship or relationship may very well be what's stopping them from flourishing, what's hindering you from experiencing. It doesn’t feel good to give up on people or relationships, trust me, I know, but sometimes, holding on is worse. Wear the smile they gave you, be forever changed by what they meant to you, then gracefully make room for the new.

An excerpt from a previous journal entry: 

Choose to enjoy your ability to live in the present in a way that others only dare to dream. Be able to live in the moment and then let go. Don’t get caught up with worrying about what will happen next or trying so hard to keep memories alive that you prohibit yourself from fully experiencing it. Instead, allow the moment to consume you. The fact is that all moments come and go. Some are beautiful and others are horrible, but nevertheless, I stress once again that they all come and they all go. Our life is but one quick fleeting moment that we are blessed to live out in slow motion. In the end all we are left with is memories; the shadows of those magnificent moments that give our lives meaning.

Everything is lost sooner or later, and you can either accept this as fact or as my erroneous notion about life. But instead of always constantly trying to overthink every situation and every card life hands to us, and hanging onto every tiny detail and pressuring ourselves to weather each and every storm, would it not be better to allow life itself and all the circumstances surrounding it to dictate its longevity? Would we not be better off spending our focus on what we are experiencing in the moment rather than contemplating whether it will turn into something grander or whether it will fizzle and fade?

All the ties we form with people and all our endeavors have a finite start and end date. It may only last for a few months or years, or it could last until your dying breath, but the reality is, it will end. The only options that you have are to either spend that finite time contemplating and rationalizing the moment or you could spend that time living it. I urge you to choose the latter. In my experience, it has always been the better path.
— From my journal entry circa 2012, which is most certainly echoes the tone of this post. Eerie yet pretty awesome to see it's been a part of my values for a while now.