The journey that life takes you on is a strange and surreal one. I often think that it’s a bit like a train ride – people arrive on the train, share part of your journey with you, they get on the same train as you at different points, leave when their station arrives. During your journey, some of the passengers sit with you, share food with you, share incredible stories with and you can’t imagine travelling the rest of the way without them. But then, their stop arrives, they have to depart to catch another train and continue with their journey. Sometimes you see them again, perhaps stay in touch through social media, or the odd text now and then. Most of the time, you will never see them again.
Friendships are like that too. Best friends you had when you were at primary school or secondary school – they are your universe at the time. Then you drift away. Never to think of them ever again. And this can happen at any point of your life – friends that you make when you are older, you become firm, best friends with. You share all your secrets with them, you are there for them or they are there for you during some of the toughest times….and then – something happens. Perhaps you move away, or they do. Perhaps you meet someone who becomes your partner and you don’t have as much time for anyone else because you’re totally absorbed in this new person and you’re trying so hard to make this new relationship work…before you know it, old friends become relegated to the status of acquaintances. And then you completely lose touch.
Do you look back with regret on not being in contact with those people anymore? Or is it an organic, healthy part of life anyway? They say that those people who are no longer a part of your life, it is that way for a reason. Their journey with you was only destined for a period of time. You met them when it was the right time for you to meet, and they left your life when it was the right time for that to happen also. It’s not without sadness that I look back and think of some friends that I no longer see. It’s easy to say we should make time for others and reconnect – but often that’s tricky. Geography plays a huge part. Making the time to see someone who lives in a different part of the country, when you have job and family commitments is hard. And the truth is, after a huge expanse of time, you and your close friends sometimes have actually grown apart for a reason. Both of you are no longer the people you were when you first connected and made friends. The close bond that you had, may never be recreated because of the stages of life that you are at. Before, when you were single, had no commitments, had no children, you could be there for one another at the drop of a hat. But now, that isn’t possible….
I don’t often look back. If truth be told, I’m so busy moving forward thinking about the next thing that needs to be done, I don’t have the time to look back. A friend I once knew said that there are a few people you meet in the world who, when they leave, you can feel the imprints of their footsteps on your heart. You’ll never forget them. There are a handful of people who have made that impression on me. Who I find it hard to forget. Who were fiercely protective of me, and were at the end of a phone call whenever I needed them. You can tell I’m talking about pre 2010, because nowadays people would rather die than speak to one another on the phone! I’m talking about friends who built me up and made me feel that I was worth something. They would make me feel incredible about myself. We would meet and just laugh and laugh forever. We were young and invincible. Everything was in our grasp.
I think if I hadn’t met this bunch of disparate, incredible, loyal, strong, intelligent, beautiful women – I wouldn’t be the person that I am now. I wouldn’t have had the courage to make certain decisions that I made in life. I wouldn’t have realised the importance of raising people up, so that they can become the best versions of themselves. It’s only when you have experienced true sisterhood, true friendship, positivity – that you can pay that forward.
I may not be constantly in touch with all the wonderful friends that I had in the past, the ones who made me realise that life is for enjoying and isn’t always a serious slog and fight. But those incredible women have left indelible imprints on my heart, and the lessons I learnt from them, and the positivity and boost in self esteem that they gave me, I hope that I am able to pass onto others.
But – just like the train journey that I referred to earlier – the wonderful thing about life is that you never know who will embark upon that journey with you. Which exciting people you will meet next? New friendships that will take you to new places?
All I know is that life is an unpredictable, strange, journey – be kind, positive and loving to the people you meet along the way, so that when we leave, people smile and remember us with fondness.