A mysterious package landed on the door step of my parents house yesterday afternoon from one of my best friends. I foolishly allowed myself to become close with Mel even though she is two years my junior (in age, but not in deportment). In the past two years, she’s seen me through my darkest days and knows every possible secret I have. We were classmates, hall mates, best friends, and conditional life partners in an open marriage (given we are both single, over 50, and same-sex marriage is allowed where we live).
College is stupid because graduation dates often translate to expiration dates for these types of friendships. And now that I think of it, most college relationships. I may sound like an asshole, but I’ve always been really good at falling off the face of the earth. It’s not that I’m non-responsive to attempts to keep in touch, but I’ve certainly not always been the first to reach out.
This really has been something I’ve been trying to work on especially considering that the already long distance between me and the people I care about is going to increase by thousands of miles in a few weeks when I move to Tanzania. The majority of my relationships, at least for the next 4 or 5 months, are going to be long distance relationships.
And while that scares me a little bit, I know that it’s not impossible. I’ve been in a long distance relationship before and taking off the bubble wrap from this present from Mel reminded me that maintaining these friendships takes care and effort. When I used to be on breaks during the school year, the urgency to talk to friends from Berkeley wasn’t all there because I knew I’d be seeing them again in a matter of days or weeks. But today, I’m realizing that I don’t have that return date anymore. If I want these friendships to last, there has to be that effort and that urgency. The people I said goodbye to—if I really wanted to or didn’t care enough—I would never have to see them again. That’s empowering and at the same time that sort of agency breaks my heart. The movies tell you that great loves (romantic, platonic, whatever) are easy, effortless, kismet—but what is so great about that? I may be running the risk of sounding like an asshole twice in one post, but I’m learning now that I have to decide who’s worth the check-in or letter or hello, and they will have to choose if I’m worth it too. Just so you know, I’m a good person to have on your team.
- thiswaytoimagination said: I have that tendency to fall off the face of the earth too. I really hope we stay in touch though; you’re a really inspiring person in a non-kitschy, academically-productive way.
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