Finding your own path is hard. Having the courage to follow it is even harder. Especially when following your own path means walking away from people you were once close with. People who never wronged you, who always supported you, who you loved and cared for. Your path just no longer aligns with theirs. Moving on means letting them go.
It happens to all of us. We grow apart from our high school friends after graduation. We stop talking to our work friends after switching jobs. We lose touch with the people we knew in our home towns after moving away. We say we won’t. We promise to stay in touch with every intention of doing so, and maybe we succeed for a while. If you’re like me, you don’t succeed for long.
The toughest time I had letting go was after college. I realized the life I had in the city with my friends was not the life that made me happy. Which was difficult to come to terms with because during college I was certain these people would be my family forever. They taught me so much during those four years of college. They introduced me to new experiences and helped me find new passions. They taught me how to be confident in myself again.
After college I followed them to where they were going because I thought as long as I was with them, I would be happy. I wasn’t. I was depressed. It was not until I moved away from the city, and in turn away from them, that I recovered. I realize now I was depressed because I was not walking my own path; I was following after theirs. In order to find my own path again, to find myself again, I needed to let go of them.
What I’ve grown to understand is it is okay to let go of people. Not just the people that hurt you, but the people who helped you too. Letting go does not mean you no longer care for them or no longer wish them the best, it just means you realize you are no longer on the same path. I sometimes feel guilty for not reaching out to those friends, for not texting them regularly, or visiting them as much as I used to. But I do not think spending my time and energy in the present moment is something to feel guilty over. I can send love and positive thoughts to the people in my past without trying to recreate it. I can celebrate their accomplishments and support their dreams without being next to them through it all. I can know that I am not a bad person for letting go.