It can be said that if you boil life down to its very core, it is nothing more than a series of losses and gains. In birth, we gain life; in death, we lose it. It’s really that simple.
Now, with an example like that it’s pretty easy to characterize all losses as bad, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Loss can actually be defined as liberating in the right context.
Think about it: Losing weight, losing a baggy of weed before your mom finds it or losing yourself in a good book are all examples of positive losses (which isn’t as much of an oxymoron as you may think).
As you return home from college for the final time, you’re going to experience a lot of loss. It’s important to recognize the good from the bad, and I’m here to tell you that although losing closeness with a friend may seem to be a bad loss, that’s not always the case.
In kindergarten, we were taught to befriend the whole class. After that initial step, it’s pretty much our duty to spend the next 12 years of life weeding out the duds until discovering a finite, compatible group of friends.
For some of us, this group ended up being large and diverse; for others, it was small and simple.
Regardless of the type of friend group you maintain, you have to accept that it will undoubtedly change over the years, especially in the time following your college graduation.
As a senior in high school, you have this notion that the friends you leave with will be your friends for life. Let’s just blame that naiveté on the post-prom, post-SAT, post-college acceptance bliss.
The fact of the matter is senior year was a cakewalk. Your friendships weren’t really being tested because your lives were so intertwined and your paths seemingly approaching the same destiny.
When college rolls around, you discover new things about yourself: hobbies, interests and temperaments you didn’t know you had or could exhibit.
You become a 2.0 version of yourself: a real, live adult. Then, boom! College ends and you move back home and you’re thrown into the same environment as high school, except nobody is who they used to be.
That’s where the dissolution of friendships begins.
You find yourself forcing relationships out of habit. You start to justify by saying things like, “Well, we’ve been friends for this long, so why stop now?” or “Maybe once we’ve settled into our careers things will get better.” This is not the route to take, as it will only lead to resentment.
I’m not suggesting that you revamp your entire circle of friends, but be sure to take a closer look. I know for a fact that I have friends I will be close with for the rest of my life, and it’s not because of habit, duty or guilt; it’s because we have the same goals, ambitions, interests and passions.
In high school, most of us are too afraid to take a stand or shake up the social structure of our lives. It’s not high school, anymore, and as sad and frustrating as it may be, there are certain people who simply are not meant to make it to the next chapter of your life. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them.
The love you feel for a friend is really unique because you chose that person and he or she choses you. It’s not like the love you have for your family because there’s free will involved, and with that free will comes a choice to walk away.
You may think you can’t possibly give up on a friendship; however, it’s a hell of a lot kinder than sticking around when your heart is no longer in it.
I’m not sure what I would say to a friend if I had to have this discussion, but I know what I would want a friend to say to me:
I love you and I thank you for everything you have done for me over the years, but as life would have it, you’re headed one way and I’m heading another. We aren’t the same people we once were and as crazy as this sounds, it seems like our adult selves aren’t going to get along too well.
Out of respect for the countless years of sleepovers, inside jokes, arguments, tears, parties and secrets, I will never wish you any ill will. In fact, I wish you the world.
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