Letting Go

I got stuck on Facebook the other day, bopping around from one person’s update to another’s. And I happened across a recent post in my notifications of a friend from my grad school days (ten years ago). I discovered she’s had a child. Now, I knew she had gotten married, but this other was news, and I found myself sad.

I am sad that she’s not a part of my life anymore. I am sad that I didn’t know firsthand about her pregnancy and her delivery, that we haven’t swapped stories about those first weeks of sleepless nights as new parents.

And then I got to thinking about other people I know, whom I don’t know any more.

I don’t mean those friends you don’t talk to regularly, the ones who you could talk to in two years or twenty and it would seem like no time had passed; it would seem like old times.

I don’t mean them.

I mean those others who played big parts in your life (or even consequential bit parts) and then left the stage. There was no big dramatic scene that booted them out of your production, no hard feelings. The story just shifted. The setting changed.

I have a hard time letting go of those people.

At one point in time I was sending holiday cards to upwards of 75 people, many of them to those people who had quit the scene, but who I couldn’t accept as having exited.

I’m not sure how to get better at this. My brain recognizes that people come in and out of our lives, that this is normal, but my heart wants to hold on to everyone.

I was thinking of that old adage, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” What is that from? Jonathan Livingston Seagull? I don’t know, and Google did not give me a satisfying answer. Anyway, I don’t think it quite fits, but there is something in that setting free idea. I could free myself by letting go. It would probably be healthier to be able to live in the moment with people, and then be okay with a future in which they are absent.

I don’t think I’m the only one who has a hard time letting go, though.

This might be why Facebook is so successful, with people clinging to everyone they ever knew.


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