To all the people I’ve come across in Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, and the Netherlands; To the people I walked past in the school hallways but never got closer to; To the people I shared everything with and grew apart from; To the people that have seen me at my worst, most intimate, and most vulnerable; To all the acquaintances, friends, and more…
The thought of turning 20 in about a month scares me. It’s made me reflect a lot about the past and one of the things that have been on my mind is the relationships I’ve built with people. Because I am turning 20, I guess I’m dealing with the grief of growing distant from the people that were so important in my life at one point, recently. If I’ve known you as an acquaintance, a friend, or more at a certain point in my life, you’ve probably crossed my mind the past few months. Reminiscing about the times we’ve shared doing whatever we usually do together.
I feel like the older I am getting and the more years I have to remember, the more the past weighs on me. Time becomes weird and memories become more of a blur. I start thinking about the friends that I haven’t talked to in years and how interesting it is that I used to be so close to people that now I don’t ever talk to. For some of the people I’m not ready to let go of, I try to still keep in contact. And when we do pick up a conversation together it feels like we never stopped.
As much as I want to hold on to these relationships, growing apart makes space for new friendships and new relationships that we need now.
The memories of the times we spend together come rushing back and it makes me think of the ‘good old days. But afterward, with some, we go back to our separate lives and continue being each other’s past. Then comes the nostalgia followed by grief and realization that we won’t remain close. But the more you think about it the more you realize this is not a bad thing as we grow and move on to bigger and better things in our lives. As much as I want to hold on to these relationships, growing apart makes space for new friendships and new relationships that we need now.
I also feel like the pandemic has robbed me of the relationships I could’ve had with certain friends. However, it also gave me the opportunity to become close to people I never thought I would. It also allowed me to meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise. I also think it normalized video calls and doing activities with people online which made it easier to keep up with my long-distance friendships.
My favorite thing about meeting people is learning from them and I’m thankful for what everyone’s taught me intentionally or unintentionally. Be it through the characteristics, traits, and mindset they possess or the interactions we’ve had. I don’t ever regret the relationships I build or lose with people as it always teaches me something along the way. Sometimes you think about these people and how they’ve impacted your life but you also wonder if you have impacted theirs. I wonder if any of the memories I’ve shared with others have ever crossed their minds from time to time as well. What people can do to you means you can also do to other people even if you don’t mean it. I’m happy to have shared the good memories together but I’m also sorry to those I’ve hurt without realizing.
People come and go for a reason as a blessing or as a lesson.
I think the older I grow the more I learn it’s hard to keep up with people. Especially with friends across the world, in different timezones doing different things. Even when you want to keep in contact, sometimes the busyness of day-to-day life gets in the way. Optimistically, it’s a good thing as we’re all living in the moment. People come and go for a reason as a blessing or as a lesson. To the friends I’ve drifted from: We might not be talking as much as we used to but I wouldn’t consider us any less close than we have ever been. If we ever want to reconnect I’m always open. If our lives ever cross again we will always pick up where we left off.
I guess my message at the end of this all, I have a lot to be grateful for. I am thankful for the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve built in the past and present. If you’re reading this and you know me personally then this is might be directed at you.
P.S. Keep posting and updating on social media, I actually like seeing what’s going on in your lives. It’s my indirect way of keeping up-to-date with our friendship.
Edited by: Melike Alpay