I don't do well with goodbyes. Never have, but against adage, hopefully, one day, I will. I believe in the whole "closing a door, opening a window" mantra, and (albeit new age-ily) believe that there needs to be space in your life for someone to fill it. Beyond romantic relationships, which both of these theories also fit, it's the less examined ones – the friendships, the work interactions – that often remain long after they've naturally run their course.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's backtrack a bit.
For the past few months, I've found myself irritable. Beyond short-tempered. And – most uncharacteristically – really, really negative, jaded, and angry. I've been coming off of a few months that have taken an emotional toll where I was dealing with a lot personally, but these incendiary emotions were unprecedented. It wasn't depression – I've dealt with that before, thankfully mild in myself but sadly incapacitating in others very close to me – nor was it anxiety or despair. Because, for all respects, things were going well. I was – and continue to be – a very lucky, very blessed, VERY grateful person for all that's happened and is happening to me. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for my life and the people in it, past or present. I'm – for all intents and purposes – in a really, really great place. And I recognize that.
But something has been off. The scientist in me has spent hours and days studying whether or not it could be chemical or trying to figure out what was wrong. Anhedonia – in layman's terms, the inability to experience pleasure – was one early idea, but I've been happy. I *AM* happy. I just don't feel like myself, and haven't for many months. It's only recently that I've begun to think that things that are seemingly unrelated could, in fact, be tied closer together than I had thought.
Changing tracks here – at least for a second – it's time to return to goodbyes. Endings. Like I mentioned earlier, these are hard for me. Don't come naturally, if at all. (Which explains why – not to anyone's detriment…I still feel extremely lucky – I'm still friends with nearly all of my exes. Which makes any boyfriend of mine who's had to find himself in a bar with three of my exes a true champion…even if they do end up all adoring each other and grabbing drinks when I'm out of town. Yep, back to being lucky…I've dated some pretty awesome guys.) But aligning with that tendency, which I'm not sure I'd change, lies the fact that I really, REALLY have a hard time ending friendships and relationships even when they're no longer healthy. Or even when, at their worst, when they're hurtful. Or toxic. I'm so inclined to keep these people in my life, based on past experiences, that I'm blind to the fact that the current incarnation is causing more harm than good. I'm a glass half-full type of girl even when I find myself looking only to the past which can obscure the present.
And herein lies the problem. At its basic sense, I've been expending my energy on things I shouldn't. I'm spending time fighting for things or even caring about things that's making me lose focus. Making me stray from the things and people that are in my life that are amazing. Because I still care, whether I should or not, about things I logically should have bid adieu weeks and months and years ago. Amicably. Wished them the best, and moved on, directing my energy and focus on what's next.
And I haven't.
To me, friendships are everything. I stay in touch with people I've known since first grade. My middle school best guy friend and I are still in touch, regularly. My college roommates and I have weekly emails, just to keep up, even though they're on other sides of the country. I (half) joke with my boyfriends that once you're in my life, well, you're in it. But I'm not naive; I understand that people change and situations change and people grow apart. Naturally. Through different interests or locale or situation, those people who you couldn't imagine not seeing every day turn into someone you send a Christmas card to, if you're lucky. But that's life. That's – as sad as it is – natural. I've hardened myself to this; it's the opposite that's been more difficult. The ones that are in your life actively but make you sad. Let you down, be it once or time and again, don't act like a friend to you. The guys that keep stringing you along. The work situations where you find yourself falling all over yourself to do better, only – one day, with a long-overdue epiphany – you realize it isn't about you. *YOU* are not the bad friend, bad girlfriend, bad employee. It's the words we've longed to say in relationships for times untold, it's NOT me, it's YOU.
I don't know the solution here. I'm still navigating my way through the disappointment that I feel – this unrealistic sense of failure – for friendships that I'm walking away from. Because I still care for and love these people, want only the best for them. But perhaps its maturity, or maybe selfishness, but I want more for myself. I know in the past few months, when I've surrounded myself with a much smaller circle and traveled to be around people I hold dear and who I can trust unabashedly, I've felt more like myself than I have in a long time. So maybe it's time to stop running away and start being a bit more 'selfish', if that's even the right word. I want to feel like myself again, and maybe it's time that I learned to say goodbye, because I think I owe it to myself. I think it's time.