If we were having coffee this weekend, my topic of conversation would be about letting go. I’ve always been a big believer of cutting negative people out of your life. One of my favorite so-called “Brotips,” in point of fact, is the following:
And it’s true! If there are sandpaper people in your life, nip that shit in the bud and move on. Everyone involved will be much happier in the long run.
But there’s a different kind of precedent when it comes to close, very long-term friends or even family members, isn’t there? They say that blood is thicker than water and all that other cliché garbage, after all. In spite of all the disagreements that you may have with these people, you’re likely never getting rid of them. And that’s great! That’s how it should be with the important people. If it’s difficult to turn your back and permanently walk out of someone’s life, there’s probably a good reason for it. That being the case, they’re also the people I’ve always been terrified to disappoint. Just the thought of angering or upsetting the people with the most influence in my life still nearly induces a panic attack.
It might not seem like a lot on the surface, but there are some slow, seismic shifts going on in my personal world right now. As I get older, I realize that I’ve grown increasingly comfortable in my own skin. I’ve got a pretty good grasp on who I am and where I am and how I want those two things to change in the future. That’s a far cry from the clueless dude a few years ago who had no idea where to go or what to do to improve his life. Now I’m in school studying to become a software or web developer. I’m still working full-time while I do it and just recently accepted an invitation from my school to join the National Society of Leadership & Success! Just this time last year, I wasn’t even sure going back to school was going to be a possibility!
And things are changing for a lot of the people in my life as well. It’s been a few months since my nephew moved back out to be with his parents in Kansas. A cousin of mine recently got married. My uncle entered the first serious relationship that I’ve ever known him to be in. My brother lost his job. A good friend of over a decade was dismissed from her program at school — and made an academic decision that might turn out to be even better for her. Another friend just had her very first baby. People that I worked alongside have moved on to greener pastures. One found an even better job just down the street. Another one recently moved back home to Romania!
Change is inevitable and contrary to popular opinion, it’s also a good thing! We get bored and stale when things don’t change. We don’t make any progress. The world essentially stops spinning. Some people fear change because it can make things harder for a while. Especially for the people who had already grown accustomed to the way things were before. But even though it’s hard to find an explanation for certain things, the truth of the matter truly is that everything happens for a reason. And it’s almost always for the best. One of my favorite quotes that I recent heard recited on Criminal Minds goes,
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
– Anatole France
Even though change is inevitable and important, one of the most important things that took me too long to really start grasping is that you can’t change other people. They’re ultimately going to do whatever they’re going to do. I can’t make my sister and nephew move back to Indy. They’ve built their life elsewhere and they’re happy with it, even if it is far away from me. I can’t make my co-workers stay where they are if they’re unhappy or a better opportunity finds them. It’s selfish to wish for these kinds of things and, in most cases, it likely wouldn’t sway their decisions either way. They’re going to do what they’re going to do.
And that’s okay.
It’s pointless to cry. It’s pointless to yell or scream. You can’t argue or debate. Sometimes it’s even pointless to calmly discuss why you wish they’d consider doing something different. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking, but part of life is having to compromise and finally coming to terms with maybe not knowing what’s best for everyone. Part of life is also learning not to take it personally, even when it completely sucks to know that the most awesome people in your world can live without you in theirs. It’s time to figure out if you can live without them in yours. (Hint: You can.)
If we were having coffee this weekend, I would tell you to find what you love and figure out a way to do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t a good idea. Even if that person is me. Try to find your focus and your passion. Follow your bliss. Nobody is going to love and know how to take care of you better than you so you might as well start investing in it now!