I came across the above quote recently. I liked the message and saved it so I could remind myself of it when necessary. I’ve needed it quite often lately as my past seems to be trying to become part of my present. People I’ve not seen or talked to in years have reappeared. Some of these encounters were just chance sightings and nothing more came of it. Others have been a direct attempt to reconnect, either by myself or the other person, reaching out.
Whether this lack of interaction is by design or simply because we fell out of touch, having these people reappear in my life has been interesting. Some friendships exist passively, some end, some last forever and occasionally you’ll drift away from someone and later find your way back into each others lives. Then, there are those who you may miss, but having them back in your life isn’t a healthy choice.
A few of the people who have reached out definitely fall into the latter category. Remembering that I already know who they are, helped keep the nostalgia from making the decision for me.
One of these was a friend of over 10 years. I made a conscious decision to end the friendship, which was a struggle for me, but then our friendship had always been a bit of a struggle. When she reached out a few weeks ago, I was surprised. I was also thankful that I am now strong enough to know while she has a place in my heart, she doesn’t have a place in my life.
On the flip side, I have reconnected with two people this past year who I am grateful to have back as active participants in my journey.
One is a friend from art school. We first met nearly 26 years ago and became instant friends. When we both left school at the end of the year, we fell out of touch, perhaps occasionally recalling that friendship and wondering where the others life had taken them. Last fall, I received a message on facebook from this friend. After many years away, he had returned to Kansas City and wanted to meet for coffee. We got together, caught up on each other’s lives and it was like we hadn’t been out of touch at all. We go antiquing and drink coffee and talk about the art we’ll make ‘someday’.
The other is a past acquaintance, and new friend. We met when she was a customer at a photo lab I worked in and when I left, we lost touch. When I began working downtown, I saw her a few times and realized we were working across the street from each other. We would pass each other on the street, now and then, but it wasn’t until I saw her on a group bike ride that I finally went over and reintroduced myself. We have started biking together and on, occasion, our rides end at a neighborhood bar where we try new beers and have great conversations.
I appreciate all of the friends who have come into my life. Whether we are still friends or not, we meant something to each other. We had good times and we learned valuable lessons from each other.