I recently caught up with an old friend from secondary school and I’ve been frustrated with myself for doing so.
For the past 6 months, I’ve been making a conscious decision to become much more patient with myself, that’s not to say that it’s always gone well, but I’ve given myself a bit more grace and understanding than I have in the past. I went on somewhat of a purge… of everything. Anything that promoted an ill feeling was removed and I’ve slowly managed to move myself into a place that has been much more peaceful for my state of mind.
Having said that, I recently received a message from a friend that I’ve known since secondary school, she messaged to hang out as we hadn’t seen each other in a while due to uni, work, and everything else that begins to take over your social life as you get older. When I initially saw her name pop up on my phone, to be honest, I was confronted with a feeling of dread, not for any specific reason, but it was instead the realisation that our friendship had now outgrown its stay in our lives. It was no longer fun to hang out anymore, and upon thinking about the earlier stages of our friendship I’m not sure it had ever really been fun. Maybe it was convenient as we both went to the same school or maybe we had just settled into a routine without giving much thought as to whether we were really bringing something into each other lives. These thoughts and feelings should’ve been the first and only sign I needed to avoid meeting up, but it wasn’t.
Despite knowing that I probably wouldn’t enjoy hanging out, this time there would be a group of people and so I thought maybe it’d be better in a group setting. Spoiler – it was not.
You know when you have a feeling that you really won’t enjoy something but you lie to yourself and try to convince yourself that maybe this time you will enjoy going out but that seed of doubt still lingers deep down and you know in your core exactly what you’re in for – this was one of those moments. It was blindingly obvious that our lives were growing in two opposing directions and along with that so were our mindsets, our aspirations, and our general personalities. It has to be said that differing lifestyles and personalities do not automatically mean that two people will grow apart, it just happens to be the case for us.
As soon as the weekend ended and I was thrown back into my usual 9-5 I began to grow increasingly irritated with myself. I knew that I had spent my time doing something that wouldn’t be enjoyable and yet I still went ahead with it.
It began to dawn on me that it’s much easier to slip into old habits and go along to get along. Holding on to something familiar is a comfortable option, whereas stepping into the unknown brings up a bunch of unpredictable possibilities. It’s a strange thing that we do, going against our best interests and doing so knowingly. Self-sabotage can be a hell of an addiction when you know that breaking the cycle will cause some growing pains and momentary discomfort.
I also didn’t consider how difficult it would be to physically cut someone off, before our meeting I had essentially cut emotional ties, or so I thought, but something still compelled me to meet up on the weekend. In my day-to-day life, it felt good to cut out that friendship as it had started to feel like an anchor that was pulling me down every time I got close. As I mentioned earlier, nothing drastic had happened but there were enough small issues that began to build themselves into a routine which became unhealthy for me.
The great thing about spending time alone and learning yourself is that you become notably more in tune with the standards that you have set in your life, your intuition develops and you become sure of yourself, understating what your boundaries are and when they’ve been crossed. You also realise that you have the power to shape your life in any way that you want.
As a young teenager, I didn’t pay much attention to these small niggles that were important to me as they didn’t seem worth kicking up a fuss over. As I’ve grown older and gotten a deeper appreciation for how I want to shape my life, I’ve understood, in principle at least, that these little limits I’ve put in place are important and worth standing by as they’ve been shaped by previous experiences that I don’t want to repeat. And this is what caused the frustration.
Meeting up with this former friend exposed me to an environment that I had actively been staying away from, it was a lapse in my progress which can feel like a much bigger setback than it was. After the weekend ended I considered that I can’t rewind time and change my decision, but I can now use it to inform myself in the future.
Learning to let go is not straightforward, you will go back on your word.. a couple of times but that’s the natural push and pull of trying to leave an old habit behind. You’ll learn to pick yourself back up again, and again and again, but you’ll finally loosen your grip and let go.