He said “you’ve changed”. . . like it was a bad thing.
He said I was different . . . and in many ways, I am.
Sometimes I miss the girl he knew. Sometimes I miss how I’d hang onto his every word and how I believed him when he spoke about the future we could have shared. Sometimes I think he even believed his words, too.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t say how it felt like I was standing in front of a ghost, and how even though he sometimes crossed my mind, I didn’t miss him like I thought I would.
I now start my mornings off slowly with coffee and a podcast. I didn’t drink coffee back then. I couldn’t stand the taste. I also didn’t listen to podcasts, either. I couldn’t understand the hype.
I now work at a job he knows nothing about and I have friends who have never heard his name. It’s a bittersweet kind of feeling to know something or someone from your “past” has absolutely no place in your present or future.
I have tattoos he’s never touched and I have a life that looks nothing like the one I once briefly shared with him until our paths careened into different directions.
And just as I’ve changed, I’m sure he has as well.
But how beautiful is this awareness that we will never again be what we were, we will never again be what we currently are, and we haven’t the slightest clue what we have yet to become?
How wildly incredible is it that we can cross paths with someone who was once a stranger and forever be changed because we knew them, even though we no longer know them?
Someone doesn’t have to stay in your life to continue to make an indelible impact on you.
I used to hate goodbyes because I thought that meant I had to let go of the perceived potential that remained; but the truth is, that potential never lingered. It either fearlessly ran its course, or it truly never existed at all.
You can’t keep rereading the same chapter and expect a different outcome. You have to be brave enough to turn the page and start anew. But it won’t all be new – some of it will feel like a warm breeze, familiar and inviting.
Some of it won’t, but that’s okay.
Some of it might feel uncomfortable, but this time you’ll know how to navigate that discomfort with a little more grace. This time you’ll be able to walk away much sooner than the times when you previously stayed and desperately held onto tatters of hope that it wouldn’t always hurt so much.
And then you’ll come to embrace newness. You’ll learn that not every love will break your heart. Some will be gentle and surprise you in ways you’d never expect. Some will see strength in your past when all you’ve been told is that it’s a wreckage of weakness. Some will make you feel safe when all you’ve previously known is danger.
Not every scary thing will feel impossible anymore, because you’ll know you’ve made it through seemingly impossible things before. You might even chase this exhilarating newness and fall in love with the version of yourself that you will become along the way.
How insanely beautiful is that?
Because I knew you and no longer know you, I am a better person today than I was yesterday.
Because I knew you and no longer know you, I know what love should (and should not) feel like.
Because I knew you and no longer know you, I have been able to meet new people and to pursue new experiences that would not have been possible if you had stayed in my life.
Because I knew you and no longer know you, I am grateful that we met, but I am even more grateful that you left.