On Change and Friendship

We all know that change is a good thing most of the time. We can't progress in life without changing, and we all make choices whether to change for the better or worse.

But what do you do when changing brings on unexpected dynamics in friend and family relationships?

Sometimes we change, and it's the best thing we could have ever done for ourselves, and when we've finally reached the place we've been working so hard to get, we stop and realize we are alone. We look around and see that during our journey, no one followed us. Instead they are miles behind, possibly across an ever widening chasm, and they have no intention of trying to cross it.

Maybe they are happy where they are, and that's great for them. But that doesn't change the fact that suddenly, they don't understand you. They don't get why you had to follow the path you did. Maybe they even feel a little betrayed because you took off in a different direction than they did. All you know is that suddenly, the people you thought were the kind to stick beside you through thick or thin are standing there looking at you with confused eyes and asking why on earth you are where you are.

It is a sad day when you realize you no longer "fit in" with people you loved so dearly. You are no longer part of "the group", no matter how much you've tried to mend hurt feelings and bridge that gap.

You're an outsider.  They have inside jokes that you don't get. You are no longer the person they make time to visit with. Forget being invited to their weddings and birthday parties, or being sought out for lunch some afternoon. They have other people.

So what now? How do you move on? How you do get over being an outcast or even just a lukewarm acquaintance amongst people you were once as close to as brothers and sisters?

Frankly, I'm not sure you do.

I can't say that I have. Every other day it feels like it hits me from a different angle. Despite being the happiest I have ever been in my life, I constantly feel a guilty reminder that I wasn't always this person. I didn't always prioritize my life this way, and now that I do, I pay the price in losing relationships I thought would last a lifetime.

Perhaps I forgot to tell them I was changing. Maybe it was because I didn't even realize it was happening until it already had. But it did happen, and sometimes, it is a very lonely place to be.

The only thing I can do is, moment by moment, lift up my head and look forward. I have new people,  ones that put effort and love into our relationships. I have people that get me and understand where I am now.

No longer can I mourn the loss of depth in the friends who are now barely more than an acquaintance. While there will always be a corner of my heart devoted to the memories of the times we shared together, looking back constantly at something I can no longer be a part of is exhausting. I am tried of being the little girl on the playground, wistfully looking at the group that won't let me play with them.

Life is too short and my days are too precious to waste carrying any guilt over my past or the decisions that got me here. And the people that now value me as a consistent part of their life are too important to waste time chasing down people who have no time for me.

Sometimes you have to let people go. Always love them, but letting them go may just be the most peaceful thing you do in your life.

Focus on the positive and always keep moving forward.



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