Pairs Well With…”Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.”
Fall is a time of change and transition. It’s a good time to declutter, purge and start fresh. Sometimes things, even life, need a good overhaul once in a while. Because of the feeling that fall brings, it is easily my favorite time of year.
Last week, with Labor Day right around the corner, I decided I was going to purge my life of negativity or anything that even remotely looked like a Lifetime movie. It’s got to go. See ya. That sh*t is not for me. I need to make room for more important things like what my next career move is and what I will wear for my first home game in the new Vikings stadium. Naturally, the things that matter.
The thing about switching it up is, you have to be willing to make moves. Actually, you have to be willing to move.
So, I moved – at about 75 mph for 1,000 miles over five days in an effort to hit reset through a trip I hadn’t really planned on taking. As I hit the road, I found a larger purpose to the trip that I hadn’t anticipated.
My first stop was to see an old college friend who had invited me to hang out, watch pre-season football games and catch up on the last twelve years. To be completely frank, I was surprised I was even extended the invite, let alone a place to stay, after vaguely recalling times of being not so nice to him (for no particular reason) over some of those years. My first order of business, something that was extremely important to me, was to issue an authentically heartfelt apology and ask for forgiveness – because who I was then is certainly not who I am now.
I used to think when people treated each other poorly that they sometimes just didn’t know or recognize what they were doing. Wrong and ignorant on my part. On the contrary, we always know what we’re doing. We’re just choosing not to care and not to pay attention to it.
Something about last week’s letter to my future self stirred up thinking about my past self. As I went to bed that evening, my mind began circling around the idea of repairing broken, open-ended or simply unfinished relationships. I started thinking I should just keep making my way across the country slinging apologies, making peace with people of the past and occasionally eating crow, though that was never the intent of the trip. This path of thinking caused me to reach out to a former college best friend with whom I was inseparable.
It hurt my heart that we had drifted apart over the years. In fact, I didn’t actually know what went wrong. I had a hard time comprehending that two people who shared so many great memories came to a point where they lacked such an understanding of one another’s life path could let it create a divide.
I continued to stew on how often we so easily walk away from people who are, or were, an enriching part of our life. Today, it seems commonplace to give up when things get complicated and abandon versus repair. I only wished I would have reached out sooner because the short time we spent together having coffee was a highlight of my trip.
With not a lot of time together, she and I reminisced through our most epic and laughable memories from college. It was like we never skipped a beat. We chatted about how much we learned about ourselves and unguardedly opened up about our lives today. At one point in the conversation, she’d reminded me of a piece of advice that I had given to her many years ago, one that stuck. By the end of our conversation, I apologized for having lost touch for so many years and expressed an interest in rebuilding our friendship. We discussed getting together in coming months, but in the meanwhile, remaining in contact more frequently. At the core, we were still same fun loving people we’d always been.
The best thing I found on this leg of the trip was how willing people, regardless of how many years, are willing to forgive if you just ask. Relationships, of any kind, need love and nurturing to continue to grow and flourish. They all require time, energy and effort. At the core, they require communication and constant attention. At present, it’s never too late to make wrongs right. At the end of a lifetime, you’ll wish you had.