This Sunday evening, I had a conversation about connections--in particular, about people whom we truly value, and those who stay in the fringes--either as passersby, or pushed aside.
When I was younger I used to think that your core was a static thing: who you were close with would remain part of your inner circle, forever. It was an immaturity on my part, of course. Now I'm a bit older, I guess I could say that there are people that you simply don't align with anymore. Not because they are any less, or that you're any better: you just grow different ways.
There are particular faces I remember fondly.
There was my friend in high school whom I'd always hang out with after class, trying to beat each other at Playstation games, or hanging out in the mall. We were both awkward misfits who just didn't fit in. Eventually we parted ways--not because we unfriended each other, but along the way we stopped enjoying the things we did together. I've never heard from him since high school, until we reconnected over Facebook a few years back.
There was another friend in college whom I became really attached with. We told everyone that we never expected to be close, until it was finally happening. We shared very personal stories: from petty crushes to life goals; fears, hopes, dreams. I saw her cry over someone she really liked. She saw me when I was at my lowest. From being inseparable, we slowly had other things to worry about. Though I never stopped considering her as someone really dear (in fact, she could still pull a friendship card on me if shit hits the fan, and I'd come running just to make sure she's alright), the truth is that our lives aren't on the same plane anymore--and I don't take it against her.
Whenever I'd scan my old photos, I'd see this other friend constantly in most of my pictures, and while I am grateful that she became part of my life, I understand that who we were years back are no longer the same people we are now. I don't take it against her that she chose to grow distant, and I can't fault myself for choosing the way I chose. I still treasure our happy memories together, but I suppose that things needed to end for us to grow up. Whether that's temporarily or permanently, I cannot say. What I know is, I am happy to see her succeed in life.
As I grow older, I understand more how connections are ephemeral, and that people come in, disappear, re-enter, and/or drift away on a regular basis. Your strongest connections may become fleeting acquaintances eventually, and that's okay. You just learn to let in, and let go.
(Then again, I also read that by the time you turn 30, it becomes more difficult to create new connections, if only because the elements of "proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other" rarely intersect at a certain age--which perhaps suggests we're stuck with old friends from our youth well into old age.)
Maybe there is a lesson in Bhutan's morbid secret to joy--thinking about death constantly--that we can use to find peace. I think that the biggest lesson I'm coming to terms with is that I should value what I have, with the acceptance that nothing will last forever.
Life flows as it should.
HELLO, MY NAME IS EVAN TAN.
I'm a writer and communications professional based in Manila, Philippines. Outside of my regular job, I like to travel, work out, volunteer, watch movies and plays, go to art galleries/ fairs and museums, read books, and eat vegetarian food.
More about me here.