Archive for June, 2015

June 25, 2015

New Thoughts on Old Friends: Reflecting, Not Yearning

Have you ever had a good friendship end, then find yourself thinking about that old friend out of the blue? That happened to me. I hadn’t thought of this friend in a long time (looking back, it feels like I forgot about him for a while). And then, out of nowhere, he appears in a dream.

In the dream, we’re in a skyscraper with only stairs. No elevator, no rooms, just stairs.  He’s always just out of reach, one or two flights ahead of me. And just as I’m about to reach him at the top, he starts to go back down again. I find myself sprinting, throwing things, screaming to try to get his attention, but he’s always just far enough away. It’s maddening.

So I gave up.

I sat on the steps and cried. It felt like I cried forever. But after some time, he was sitting next to me. He wrapped his arms around me in a warm, reassuring hug in the same way that he used to. He held my shoulders, kissed my forehead and said, “You can stop now.”

When I woke up, I came to a brilliant realization about my former friendship. Something that I haven’t quite come to grips with over the years:

Our friendship ended. And that’s good.

What we had was good. We learned from each other. We grew with each other. We were there for each other. We were really dear friends. But it ended and that’s for the best. We can’t go back to what we had, even if we wanted to. We’ve grown up. We’re not the same people we were when we were friends. We probably wouldn’t get along in the same way as we did.

But maybe it’s better to remember old friends the way they were while you were in each other’s lives. People are constantly changing, learning, evolving. Chances are those old friends aren’t the same as you remember them. You’re likely not the person you were before. That’s how the world spins.

But that change shouldn’t taint your memory of them. It should make it more meaningful.

It’s beautiful, really. That in this universe, for a millisecond in the grand timeline, two completely different people, both still evolving, still moving on their separate roads through life, were able to cross paths and form a bond for even the briefest of times. And even though two straight lines only meet at a singular point in space before going off in different directions and never meeting again… that point in space is special. It’s completely unique. No other point on either of those lines will ever be identical to that; nothing will ever match that intersection in space.

Life is full of those unique intersections in space. It’s silly to yearn for that same experience a second time because the singularity of that experience is what makes it special. We can look back on those moments with fondness, but we need to realize when the moment is over.

I’ve spent a lot of time hoping for my friend back. I’ve spent time chasing down that friendship that meant so much to me, wishing it would just go back to the way it was. But it never will. I’ll never have that friendship again. Even if my friend came back into my life somehow, it would be a new experience, a new intersection in space. It will never be as it was. And therein lies the perfection.

I’m okay with being at the end of this moment. I realize that what I had was meaningful and special to me. I am grateful for the happiness that this friendship brought me. I am grateful to have had the chance to know this person. And most importantly, I acknowledge the finality of it all.

Now, I have the opportunity fully engage and embrace the next unique intersection in my life. And just like all the ones before this, it will be perfect in its peculiarity.