I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the way in which we walk in and out of each others lives. Specifically, I’ve been dwelling on the “walking out” part. The “walking in” part is interesting and all but it doesn’t seem to have as much variation as the other, which makes it a little less mysterious. Less contemplicious (yeah!).
It’s weird how many different ways a person…Okay, scratch that, it’s weird how many different ways *I* react to losing someone – or even the notion of losing someone – from my day-to-day life and how that’s changed over the years.
My father once told me that the only thing you really have in life is your friends and family. True enough, but if I were to pass this wisdom on, I’d tag “but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them” to the end of it.
I used to think that a friend was a friend – no matter what – and I would cling to that friendship, sometimes desperately, regardless of whether or not the person did anything to deserve that kind of loyalty. I literally had friends I couldn’t fucking stand and I hung out with them all the time. The way they’d behave, the shit they’d say…they were wretched, awful people – social embarrassments at best – and hanging out with them was a serious drag.
Several years ago I was talking to a friend on the phone and she pointed out that I wasn’t a loser and that my friendship was something that people should actually value (and therefore earn). She pointed out that hanging out with someone who I didn’t really like wasn’t so much loyal as it was stupid. And lazy. She showed me that there was something of value inside of me and that, while I didn’t have to be a dick about it, my friendship wasn’t something I should just randomly give out to people who didn’t deserve it. She taught me that self respect and standards are good things and I will always love her for that. Ironically, she wound up lying to me and using me and ultimately fell victim to her own words. I’ll always be grateful to her…just don’t want to know her any more.
And I remember that, at the time, removing her from my life hurt. Quite a bit actually. Back then I considered her one of my best friends and there wasn’t anyone in the world I had a better time with. I really wanted to hang out with her. Even after she mistreated me the way she did. But talking to her, spending time with her…it just seemed like rewarding bad behavior and I didn’t see any way to do that while retaining any sort of self respect.
About a month ago a coworker quit his job and I’ve been missing the conversation and the daily interaction since then. There’s a pretty decent chance I’ll never actually see this person again. We’ll doubtless keep in touch via email for a while, or possibly even long term, but for several reasons it’s doubtful we’ll get to hang out again. And that’s okay. I miss the guy, it’s a huge-ass drag, but it’s okay.
And it was that last thought that got me started thinking all this shit in the first place. I’m not used to being this at ease with the notion of losing friends. Maybe it’s because I’ve (sadly) had enough experience with losing people that I can deal with it better now. Or maybe it’s because I’m nowhere near as emotionally crippled as I used to be. Or a combination of both. Or none of the above, I don’t know.
And yet, all that said, if something were to happen to my wife I’d probably be talking to myself and begging for money six months later. That’s a thought I’d rather not explore, actually. In fact, I think I’m done with this line of thought for now.