I write this post with a lens of love and with care. The person I am today is not the person I will be tomorrow, is not the person I was yesterday. Life expands and contracts, throwing people in and out of your orbit, and it is how gracefully we handle the emotions of this that gives inner comfort and demonstrates self kindness.
Each year passing feels faster, as we have more behind us to compare to. When summer holidays felt like they went forever, a weekend could be jam packed full of adventure, personal space and down time. I would have time to pause and realise I had not seen a friend in some time (which might equate to a few weeks), or decide I wanted to take up a new hobby.
In more recent years, and particularly with the completely life altering and jarring introduction of COVID-19 movement and lifestyle restrictions, I am experiencing life on what feels like x1.5. It’s not smashing past me, but there are times when I stand and give an audible ‘huh’ when I realise it has been literally months since I reached out to someone or saw them last.
There is risk in the gaps. The person you hung out with 7 months ago has potentially lived through a lot in the between time. As have you. And in recent years my life has been thrown some curve balls that actively altered massive parts of me. This means when I re-engage with people, the terms that I come to the table with have changed. And given we are all wrapped up in different layerings of social contracts, this can cause a lack of unity if the other person has also had their norm challenged by what you now bring forward, or have confirmed an alternative preference for communication and friendship for themselves.
Fundamentally I believe I am a good person. But I acknowledge that, just as with everyone, there are times when I could have been a better friend. The people who hold space for me despite those times I have fallen down for them are making active choices to do so, and there is no expectation that I will be afforded that grace tomorrow. They have chosen to see those times as the complicated reality that they were: mixed in with personal challenge and resulting growth, mixed in with changes in circumstance and complex life happenings that disrupted my “normal”.
I adore the version of myself that I am today. My mental health is strong, my outlook positive and my projection going in a direction that brings excitement, anticipation and pure joy. But I am a human, and am therefore flawed. I am a human, and therefore prone to set backs. I have far more boundaries and barriers about me than I had yesterday, some of which may come down with time, but some that I see as protective and important additions to me and how I care for myself.
I write this wondering how many people it may resonate with. For me, undergoing personal growth requires solitude and space. It requires reflection, demonstration of self-promotion and some real inner grit through times of conflict or difficulty. This has thrown me temporarily, and in some circumstances, permanently, out of orbit with some people in my life. It has felt painful at times, but I maintain that I am here, sitting at the table with a cup of tea and a jam donut, with a base emotion of gratitude and an undertone of care and understanding.
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