There is a natural ebb and flow to relationships. Whether that are romantic, familial, platonic or professional, relationships have moments where they are strong and vibrant, but also where their dynamics fade from the erosion of time, distance and changing circumstance.
Relationships are often given the context based on the hard starts and stops of certain periods of our lives – middle school, high school, college. We embark on a journey dictated by shared time and space and suddenly those chapters come to a close only for us to begin a new chapter and the responsibility to maintain the relationships that wouldn’t naturally be moving with us.
Our childhood friendships take a backseat when we start high school, only for those to take a backseat to college ones, and further more those to take another backseat once we begin “adulting.” I’ve been blessed with friendships that have been tried and true among each of these milestones. I’ve learned that with some there is a natural pick up where you left off, others fade into the distance to become a memory you look back on when feeling nostalgic, and some you are lucky enough to keep nurturing throughout the new chapters that come along.
There is a little heartbreak that comes when you look at the friendships that once meant the world to you, that you thought would never fall victim to time and distance, suddenly, or gradually have.
I’ve learned that you can’t really force anything to happen and there has to be acceptance that life pulls everyone in different directions. There will always be circumstances that make a friendship stronger, but in the true equilibrium of life, there will be circumstances that will make a friendship lose its freshness, vitality and strength. But here’s the thing I have come to understand and that we all need to remember – it doesn’t make a friendship any less meaningful.
I believe we are given friendships at certain points in our lives, and some stay in that chapter, and others move with you. I do believe that certain people are meant to be carried through, some take a pause only to be picked up later, and some stay in the past. Whatever the context know that the ebbs and flows of any relationship are meant to give you what you need in that moment.
As humans we all belong to one another, and I truly believe we enter each other’s lives for a reason, but more importantly a purpose. My childhood friends helped me be be a kid, and have innocent fun, to see the world in the most beautiful and pure light. My high school friends showed me the importance of fraternity, and what it really meant to be a renaissance man. My college friends helped shape me as an adult and what my purpose in this world was. Now that I am an adult, the new friends in my life have begun to teach me about life, how to be a professional and make your work serve a greater purpose.
Every friendship that comes into our lives has its purpose and I have been blessed by hundreds – yes, hundreds – of friendships that have meant the world to me. Friendships that have given me the greatest, most joyful of memories to get through hard times, the challenges to help me realize my fullest potential and the ability to enjoy the time I have been given.
I have had too many incredible moments – both good and bad – shared with too many friends to suddenly feel they are less than because we are constantly connected through communication and proximity. Whether I see a friend today, or haven’t seen then in four years, to me, a friend is a friend.
While sometimes it is sad that we lose touch with those we have shared some pretty incredible times with, we never know who can reenter, or what stranger is about to become a new friend. So cherish the ebbs and flows of friendship and accept them for the meaning they give and the time they occupy in your life. You’ll realize rather quickly how lucky you are to have the people in your life, and how much richer they’ve made it.