A nice part of getting older is that you learn to appreciate relationships for what they are. My friend S is fond of the saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I agree with her that this is apt. The trouble is in knowing the difference and accepting that sometimes someone seems to be in one category and turns out to be in another. Thinking a friend or romantic partner will always be in your life and learning that this is not to be is the essence of heartbreak.
I’ve lived in a number of different places over the years and keep in touch with friends in those places to varying degrees. There are inevitable friendship casualties whenever you move cities and the people I’ve stayed close with despite the distance only become more valuable to me as the years go by.
When you’re young, it seems that a deep connection with someone means they will be in your life always but by the time you come home for Thanksgiving your freshman year of college, you know this is not the case. Sometimes there is a falling out that seems huge and insurmountable at the time but in retrospect is likely to seem small and petty. Many people leave our lives not because of catastrophe or wrongdoing but just because; it doesn’t diminish what you had with that person, but at some point they just become your past. Others come into and out of your life in a blazing flash.
Some of my most memorable experiences with people have been the most fleeting; when someone is only in your life for a brief period, there isn’t the time for your relationship with them to become mundane, for it to be fractured slowly by the stresses of the every day. It remains forever perfectly preserved in the moment. That gorgeous stranger I once went for pancakes with at Café Yaffa at 4am? Who knows what I’d think of him as now if we’d actually dated. As it happens, all I remember is this night that started off as nothing and became oddly magical out of nowhere.
It’s easier to get back in touch with people than ever, what once took serious reconnaissance efforts now takes five minutes on Facebook. This certainly leaves the door open for some really bad decisions (no harm in seeing what that ex is up to, right?) but it also creates a loose connection with people that can be maintained much more easily than before. Our bonds with each other are more fluid now, for better or worse.
The new year brings with it the opportunity to see several people I thought I might never see again: the host family I stayed with while I was a student in Uruguay eight years ago and J from Buenos Aires who hosted us for a most memorable Thanksgiving dinner in ‘07 and who has been so helpful to me in planning my upcoming trip. In fact it is in part because of these wonderful people that I have chosen
to fulfill number 3 (spend a month abroad). Argentina
Reaching out to someone from your past can take a lot of courage. I wrote this list item with a specific someone in mind and I am still working up to it.
Have you ever found someone once lost? How did it go?