When people come into your life, it is hard to dissociate from the shared moments and move on. Oftentimes, we find ourselves forced to leave people whom our lives once revolved around behind. You will always carry memories of the sights, the sounds and the experiences you shared. But, sometimes people change; sometimes we move on and oftentimes, we simply grow.
As days turn into months and months into years, it is still difficult to understand how to detach yourself from the people of your past and to accept the reality that they will no longer be part of your present.
People who made up such a large part of your life at one point (ex-boyfriends, teachers, old roommates, friends, etc.) are not always meant to be in your life forever.
Sometimes, those people come into your life for a brief moment in time — however brief — and then, they are gone. And in a moment, the people in whom you invested turn into mere pictures stored somewhere in the back of your mind. The moments you shared meant something — and they still mean something. You are subject to an internal battle to understand how the people you once valued are no longer of importance to you in your daily life.
In a way, those people in your past became your family and you probably find yourself struggling to let them go. They gave you advice when you needed guidance. They gave you hugs when you felt alone. They gave you unique experiences that defined a stage of your life. Most of all, however, these people gave you a sense of comfort in the unfamiliar and unpredictable journey that we call life.
And during those unusual times when you return back to those people and those places, you realize that your connection to that city, to those people and to those memories still holds strong. While you may have left and may have a new life completely unlike your past, those connections do not dissipate. Just because you left a place or left people, it does not mean that those memories somehow become void. And when you return, you are reminded of the friends you made, the people you knew and the moments you shared. All of these things suddenly become fresh in your mind. It is in these instances when you’ll realize the importance each one of these people has in your life.
It is still difficult to look back, knowing that your current life does not quite leave room for everyone in your past. And while you’re not sure it will ever get easier, when you know that people you once considered to be family are continuing to live a life separate from yours, it is comforting to know that at any point, you can stop and remember the experiences you shared together.
As we grow, we realize that all people are not permanent fixtures in our lives, that they can be fleeting fixtures of happiness, love and comfort. It is a difficult concept to grasp that people we consider to be staples in our lives may not be here for us tomorrow. But, we must learn to accept the idea that whether it be a lover, a coworker or a friend, his or her place in our lives may not always be meant to last forever.
When we begin to understand that relationships are not always meant to last, we can also have a deeper appreciation for the experiences we share with people while they are in our lives. Though it may sadden you to consider the end of a relationship, you can begin to appreciate the people in your life for the sheer reason that they exist in your present. People come and go, but memories last forever.
The lessons people teach us and the hardships they help us navigate are never forgotten. These memories become permanent parts of us and continue to shape who we become. Just because a relationship does not last does not mean that it is insignificant in any way. It is not the amount of time these relationships last that is important, but instead, it is the ability to remember them.
Once we can accept the realization that relationships are fleeting, our lives will be filled with vast moments of appreciation. Appreciation for each relationship in its entirety and the uniqueness of the moments that you share together — appreciation for the present.
Leaving people behind is never easy — it never feels right to move on to the next chapter. But, as life continues onward, so do we, and just because we leave people, it does not mean we must forget the times we shared. It does not mean that all those things must be lost in some unknown abyss. All we can ask is to remember and that those whom we once loved remember us, too.
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