Moving on, Letting Go: Finding New Horizons

in #life6 years ago

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My wife and I were recently discussing the "weight of the past": aspects of the past that weigh on the present. Our life on the homestead certainly provides ample time for thought, and introspection: perhaps too much, some days! Secretly, we both spent too much time thinking about the past. We realized that we were holding onto things that are gone.

Our movement to a homestead existence was quite shocking to both of us, in the sense that we lost contact with pretty much all the people we knew. For a variety of reasons, the majority of the people that meant something to us are absent, in one way or another .. too busy with life, too tied up with their immediate realities to spend any time keeping in contact. Our "old world people" are GONE, more or less. Many people who I considered dear friends cannot be bothered to do anything whatsoever to maintain contact. It's been rather sobering to learn that these friends of mine were actually more "fair weather associates of convenience" than friends. My wife experienced similar things; a lot of the people she saw as "unofficial sisters" have precisely zero time for her.

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For a good long while, this really weighed on us both .. we never talked about it, but it was there. We recently DID have a discussion about it all, and our conclusion was, pretty much, "enough is enough."

Both of us are fairly exhausted at trying to maintain relationships with people who have no time (or interest?) in doing the same. Perhaps we are, unknowingly, gigantic assholes. Maybe our off grid lifestyle (and corresponding beliefs) are off-putting to people. Maybe people are bitter that we up and said "fuck it, we're stepping out of line and doing what feel we need to do." Whatever the reason, the conclusion is clear: the old reality is dead, and a new one is here.

Our problem in "letting go" was emotional: refusing to integrate the extent to which our reality has changed. I guess you can only stare at the writing on the wall for so long, before you force yourself to read it! I think reality has finally fully dawned on both of us, and it has been very liberating. It took years for this to happen, but I think we're finally there. We've recognized the futility of it all.

We made a number of roundabout observations and conclusions about this process.

  • What you WANT has no bearing on WHAT IS.

  • Personally suffering due to the gap between "what is" and "what you want" is, ultimately a choice, and from experience, it is not a good one. No matter how much you stare at reality and wish it would change, it probably won't. Feeling miserable about this helps no one.

  • It took us far too long to realize what was obvious: our old world is gone, the people that were in it are absent, and our new world is what we should be focused on.

  • You really can't know how real your friendships are until they are tested. Truly, both of us have examples of people we would have sworn would have walked through hell with us. In reality, if it's not 100% convenient and simple, they can't be bothered with us, at all!

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My father passed away not too many years ago, and in a weak moment, I called a friend for support. Now, this might not sound like much, but to me, it is huge: I literally think it is the only time I have made a call for emotional support, EVER, in my entire adult life. I am the OPPOSITE of someone who needs that on a regular basis and frankly see it as rather weak to need constant support from others. So, me picking up the phone was quite out of character. This one time though, I decided to allow myself the weakness. I thought "Yeah, it would be really, really quite nice to hear a friendly voice on the phone."

So, I called a friend. We were not more than a minute into the conversation (I'd barely said "my dad just died right in front of me.") and it was made fairly clear to me that the person did not have time for the conversation. His voice was the verbal equivalent of a foot tapping on the floor.. "Let's hurry up and get this over with." He had business to attend to.

I ended the call quickly, resolved never to make a "moment of weakness" phone call again.

Now, I don't know about you, but if someone ever called me and said "My dad just died", I would drop absolutely everything I was doing to give that person whatever emotional support I could: to experience the exact opposite was very sobering. The mathematics on that friendship looked instantly very different.

These are not happy life realizations, but at least for us, accepting them has made a difference in our overall happiness and enjoyment of life. Our thoughts of the past are absolutely waning, and our emphasis is on the present: the reality in front of us, today and tomorrow: not yesterday. Though we would still extend a hand of friendship to all of these people who are completely missing in action, we're not crying over their absence. It's just, life. It's the way it is. Perhaps in the future, this will change: but we're not waiting for it, we're not feeling badly about it, and .. it just it.

It just is.

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For those of you struggling with "memories of the past", things you can't let go of: take heart. It does get better. Time alone can heal a great many wounds, as can the realization that absolutely no one benefits from you having a heavy heart. It won't change the past and it won't help the future. The only thing it will do is make you feel badly. All you can do is focus on the present, and do your best to change the things you can. How does the old saying go?

“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Good luck out there everyone, and remember: you can think about the past and dream about the future, but the ONLY thing you will ever live in is the present. There is no tomorrow. Yesterday is gone.

The only thing you can ever live in is THE NOW.

Photo Credits

https://pixabay.com/en/farewell-say-goodbye-bye-road-3258939/
https://pixabay.com/en/sisters-summer-child-girls-931151/
https://pixabay.com/en/say-goodbye-old-man-man-away-2890801/
https://pixabay.com/en/barley-field-wheat-harvest-sunrise-1684052/


[ @xwalkran ]

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I'm very sorry about your dad and that your friend responded so coldly to your phone call :(

I've just come to the conclusion over the years that many, maybe most, friendships are situational. Break whatever common bond holds you together and with that glue gone, the friendship dissolves. I learned that lesson young due to being a "military child"...we'd move, and I'd write and write, and not get responses. Once I was gone I was forgotten. I have a very few friends now that are the type that I can go years without speaking to, but if we were to get together we'd pick right back up. Those are few and far between though.

Thanks for the vote of sympathy. It really was quite shocking, although it did give me an even more rugged attitude towards calling someone for help. Although I have never since been tempted to call someone in a situation like that, if I ever was, I suspect a little "Clint Eastwood" voice would pop in.

"You want some daisies too, buttercup?!! How about some nicely scented candles??!"

It has happened to me and my wife as well. Being close together and working towards the goals that we both have agreed made some friends stay away. In my case some friends are way to afraid of commitment to a person and so they are afraid that my decision is not compatible with friendship and I've wondered why. My wife has also asked me why were kind of lost our lost friends and I have replied that life has different stages and we are just in a different stage or maybe we 'leveled up' and some people stood there in the last level or stage. The great thing is that you can discover which of your friends and family will stay close to you on each level and no matter what you will and can count with them. Maybe some friends will catch up later in some other stage, who knows?

Interesting perspectives for sure. You're right. Who knows.

Thanks for checking my comment.

I have learned that timing is everything. My thought is that you need some people at the right time. At times I feel this made me apathetic. Whoever can help then that is fine by me. I have had expectations but never met and it is depressing. It only pained me more. I then made a resolve to never expect much. However, I am eternally grateful for all the good things and help that come my way and reciprocate the best way I can.

I have also learned that friendship/relationship is tested again and again. Patience is tested. Trust is tested. At one point, there is an end to it all. However, sometimes help comes unexpectedly even from those you thought you have given up.

Control what you can control and always have an attitude of gratitude.

Thank you for the thoughts .. there is much wisdom in what you say.

I took wisdom from what you have written :) Thank you for sharing and opening up.

Well, that's one person at least!

thanks for sharing more in detail what you and @walkerland have had going on. i've been reading her side of things for a little bit and i can totally relate as some friendships have been tested in my life lately too. i think your realizations and awarenesses are really wise. all i can think is that as these old companions "die back", it's creating space for more resonant connections to take their place. may it be so! wishing you strong and true friendships <3 also, sorry to hear that that was the response from your friend. that's super calloused. i definitely think it's valuable to be able to open up and have people really receive us. it can hurt when we need to be received and no one's there to catch us <3

as these old companions "die back", it's creating space for more resonant connections to take their place.

I think you are correct @mountainjewel!
The void that these absent friendships created has been filled with other things in their absence: reflection, meditation, love, healing, self awareness, growth - to name a few. Our connection with each other has deepened more than I ever imagined possible as has our collective appreciation for our surroundings and this lifestyle. We have lost much but I would go through it again to hold onto what we have gained.

This is not to say I don't still hold love in my heart for these old friends, I do love them. I'm just learning to accept & appreciate the process.

Thanks for the thoughts and insight. It's nice to see you show up on a post of mine, as I hear your name around here every few days. @walkerland is really quite taken with everything you do. You definitely inspire her.

This happened to us in 1998. But it was because we were both diagnosed with (different) invisible chronic illnesses. Of an extended family of 26, exactly 4 stood by us. Unfortunately, none of them lived even remotely nearby.

As far as friends, every last one disappeared.

No one could cope with someone with chronic illness.

Our few friends now are all people with chronic illness.

It was really hard the first few years, but we managed to survive without a physical support system, and now, 20 years later, we just live our life as we choose.

Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I appreciate it.

I think this happens to most of us who chose to live an alternative lifestyle. They friends that we once thought of as close no longer have the time of day for us. If you look back. I bet that those friends weren't there for you in the good times either and really didn't make the effort to keep in contact when you were living the old lifestyle. How many times did they call you just to see how you were? These are not friends in the true sense of the word. They are acquaintances or ships that pass through your life at random times. A true friend will stand by you no matter what. As for family, just because you share a blood link doesn't necessarily mean they will stand by you. Sometimes non-family are better for you than the family members.

Thank you for your thoughts. I don't even know how to answer your questions .. the answers are not even really clear for me. Out of sight, out of mind is about the best way I can word what it seems like. But, that's alright. Everyone has their path, and obviously many paths diverge; whatever was there did not withstand distance. It stung but, it is what it is.

It is best to move on with your new life. The important thing is that you are happy with the choices you made. Perhaps they are the ones who are missing out on happiness...

Oh my goodness I'm kinda struggling with that too - re: your Dad. That's so sad. I rang a friend to talk about the fact Dad had cancer, and might die - and she knows I'm super close to my Dad but she changed the subject and talked about her. Okay, I get that, maybe she just didn't know what to say - but I hung up that call 6 months ago and I haven't heard a word since - not even a text. Sometimes you just outgrow folk. Sometimes you change so much that the old no longer suits. Going over it in a million ways doesn't help us at all - moving on, moving forward is the best option. I was sad for ages about it but I've realised that maybe this heavy heart is just holding me back. As Dad says, it is what it is.

Oh my goodness I'm kinda struggling with that too - re: your Dad. That's so sad. I rang a friend to talk about the fact Dad had cancer, and might die - and she knows I'm super close to my Dad but she changed the subject and talked about her. Okay, I get that, maybe she just didn't know what to say - but I hung up that call 6 months ago and I haven't heard a word since - not even a text. Sometimes you just outgrow folk. Sometimes you change so much that the old no longer suits. Going over it in a million ways doesn't help us at all - moving on, moving forward is the best option. I was sad for ages about it but I've realised that maybe this heavy heart is just holding me back. As Dad says, it is what it is.

Thanks for sharing: and you're right, it is sad. You would think issues pertaining to the life and death of loved ones would be worthy of a moment or two of discussion. Honestly, I'd have done better for a complete stranger. Bewildering. Your dad is right though: it is what it is.

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