In your early years, you can’t wait to let things go.
Early on, you capture frogs for the sole purpose of watching them hop away.
Early on, you delight in lighting sparklers, knowing that they’re going to burn out eventually but waving them in broad circles with gusto until they slowly fade.
Early on, you catch small fish with pride, allowing a gap-smiled photo op for your parents before happily returning the minnows to their watery homes.
One day, you drop your mother’s nurturing hand as you walk through the mall, and begin your journey toward independence.
Years later, you fly the coop entirely, leaving everything familiar and comfortable behind for the thrill of the unknown.
And then you are an adult, and the process begins to reverse.
Somewhere in the thrill of the unknown you begin to long for the “old” days, where nothing was new and everything was familiar.
You cling to superficial friendships of circumstance when new friendships are challenging as they develop.
Your friends move away from your college town and you wish they would just stay, that everything could be the same as when you were young.
You grasp at memories like tangible ropes holding you to the anchor of a more stable life, even as they drift away on the tide.
And some years later, as the inevitable ebb and flow of emotion between the familiar and the unknown pulls at you, you realize that nothing will ever be the same, and that moving on doesn’t mean that your memories are left behind, or that your friendships are any less important…and you let go.
And it’s liberating.
You realize as an adult that life will always change…and it’s okay. That to truly be happy you need to both let go and hang on – because one is equally as important as the other. That just because half your friends are married and the other half are single doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground in silly moments, or poignant ones, or the memories you shared when you first met. That just because some of you have money to be frivolous and some of you are struggling doesn’t mean that you can’t still have a meaningful relationship in the way you connect when you’re together – whatever you are doing. You realize that the people who are important to you remain so, always, if you choose to make time for them to be.
And at the end of the day, all these realizations are preparation for you to let go of the ideals of your life and the uncertainties of change, and accept each day, whether future or past, without regret or consternation – and allow the beautiful reality of truly living to set in.
At least, that’s what I choose to believe.