CHALLENGE: foresighted retrospection
Nothing lasts forever. While we know this, how much do we keep it mind as we move through our daily lives?
Recently, I’ve been contemplating the gross disintegration and looming demise of one of my most impactful relationships to date. As useless as it often is, regret sometimes enters my mind and I wonder how much time was wasted trifling over the more frivolous details as opposed to enjoying and celebrating the great aspects of the relationship. But what if you could use regret–beforehand?
We know that every friendship, every life, pretty much every thing has an expiration date. Still as the conclusion draws near, not wanting to let go, we frequently tighten our grasp and survey the past, wondering what we would’ve done differently. There’s a propensity to highlight the overall degree of the impact of the alliance, whether positive or negative, and designate it as one or the other.
In the case of this relationship, that’s had a primarily positive influence in my life, I wish I’d thought more about the end in the beginning. If I truly anticipated an end in a neutral way, with a desire to have the most positive experience possible, I would like to think I would’ve focused more on the favorable and substantial elements and handled the lesser desirable moments better.
Right now, consider that at some point, every relationship in your life will, for whatever reason, end. The ‘why’ is unknown, as is the ‘when’. That leaves “what now?”
Take a moment to appraise and appreciate your relationships for what they are, not what you want(ed) them to be. What have you experienced? What have you learned? How have you grown? What did you give? What can you do to improve it? What can you stop doing to improve it? The benefit of an experience isn’t just what we receive, but also what it allows us to experience and/or give.
As you go through this process, remember that love involves freedom; it is loving the being of someone, not the having of someone. The essence of what you share with a person is all that matters and all that will remain. It’s no easy task, but keep that in mind as you look for the good in the connections that sustain you.
“I have to remind myself that some birds weren’t meant to be caged.
Their feathers are just too bright.
And when they fly away, the part of you that knew it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice.
But your world is just that much colder and emptier when they’re gone.
I don’t know…
Maybe I just miss my friend.”
– The Shawshank Redemption
Photo source: AustinTX