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the ways we drift apart from the people who once knew us best

Do you ever think about how many people we come to know throughout our entire lives? We form friendships, fall in love, hearts break, relationships end, distances are created. We travel, change addresses, change our minds, develop feelings, become disinterested – a continual cycle of love and loss in different forms. It’s the human way.

Breakups can be brutal and life-changing, yes, but then there are the relationships we lose without so much as a word. It’s the friendships with people you’ve had for years that eventually come to a stand-still. You don’t realize they’re gone until you wake up one day and look back on a warm memory, suddenly realizing you can’t remember the last time you talked to them about anything meaningful.

Sometimes I think about why these things happen, why some people remain a fixed part of your life forever, while others merely exist for a short time, and some weave their way in and out throughout the years. I think about people I once considered my best friends to only then become a person remembered in cool waves of nostalgia. I can still remember their birthday, their favorite restaurant, what calms them when they’re anxious, the way they knew me best at one point.

It’s a little bit disheartening to think about the people we loved so much only to lose them with time, with circumstance. I’d like to think that when you love someone that love has the power to last forever but if that were true, then why do we let it fade?

When I think about the people who have drifted away I know in my heart I still have love for them. But the difference between then and now is that it’s just not the same as it was before. Maybe that love can exist again when things are different – when we’ve both grown a bit, or when we’re in the same place once more, or when the timing allows us to co-exist again. Maybe then.

Perhaps the problem is that love is never just enough. We expand, we grow, we become different versions of ourselves over time, and sometimes the people in our lives are unable to keep up. The changes become too great or the distance becomes too much until you realize you no longer remember what you had in common with them.

Every relationship goes through its ups and downs – this we know to be true – and we also know not every relationship makes it out alive, not every relationship has endurance. We experience this with friends, with lovers, with long-term partners. Everything has it’s season but the impact of the cyclical nature of relationships can often last years after the fact.

Not everyone we come across will stay in our lives forever but I’d like to think with every person we love, romantically or platonically, it expands our experiences, our ability to love and to care for other people. It shows us the ways we truly succeeded with another person, how we failed to keep that connection alive, and insight for future relationships.

The people we love might drift away to become strangers again but the human heart has an amazing capacity to love. There are so many ways in which it fills and expands, empties and bends. Everytime we feel it break or crack a little deeper we come back with the strength to care again once more with feeling. It’s the human way.

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