Growing Up, On, Out, Apart

Little in life really remains exactly the same. A familiar beach is actually made up of new waves every day; a favorite book reveals new meanings and nuances with every reading; a garden blooms, wilts and is renewed each year, with the same plant producing new flowers every spring.

And much like those waves, or that prose or the new blooms, we all change. Through big sweeping changes, or in subtle, less obvious ways. Every situation we experience, each heartache, triumph, every interaction—all of these shape us. Like those changing waves that smooth a shell on that familiar beach, creating and erasing ridges, we are shaped by our lives.

And so, it follows that as we change—rough edges buffed out by love, sharp edges created by pain—our relationships change. Forks appear in roads: we go one way and friends, lovers, partners go another. Or, they stay put. Watching someone you love stay stationary while you move forward-- progressing and proceeding through life-- is painful. It can be tempting to try to bridge the ever-widening gap with memories, small talk or nostalgia. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, or they try, or you both try, there’s no escaping the fact that you’ve changed. Your relationship has changed. And that is OK. Let it change. And if you need to, let it go.

image courtesy of Pinterest

image courtesy of Pinterest

Honor what was, and then honor where you are now.

A few years ago, I was struggling with the crumbling of one of my own close friendships. I no longer felt a connection with someone who no longer made me feel good about myself. I knew it was time for me to put myself first, but I wasn’t sure how to do that without hurting my friend. I didn’t know if I was allowed to move on from a friendship. Friend breakups are messier, more difficult and less clear-cut than romantic ones. But I found this quote and it touched on all things I was feeling:

“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for so long we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.” –Ally Condie

I love the simplicity, honesty and gratitude in this quote. We will grow. And we will grow apart from important people in our lives. But that doesn’t erase the past. That doesn’t make us terrible people. Instead of holding onto guilt or onto a relationship that no longer makes sense, let yourself grow, even it means you outgrow people. Our roots are strong in our foundations, but just like that garden, blooming year after year, we’re meant to drop petals and sprout new ones.

So go on, grow.