My hockey team is the Edmonton Oilers. In c. 2008 they made a decision to ‘rebuild’ the team which included an overhaul of all those tired, ‘bitter’ players like Shawn Horcoff and Sheldon Souray and Jason Smith, replacing them with young dynamos in hopes that a new potential would be reached for the team. They’re still the Oilers. I still love them. But change was/is/continues to be an important part of this, or any team, in order to hopefully be successful again someday.
The nature of sports in this context to me, serves as an important metaphor for friendships in someone’s life. You build relationships and make memories with a lot of people. But eventually, a sort of rebuild takes place – distance, life experiences, location, emotions and circumstances change things and beyond our control, we end up ‘rebuilding’ the social circles in our lives. New people come in, people you knew before fade into the background. And we rebuild, and sometime down the road, we may rebuild again.
There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s a fact of life and something that I’ve come to embrace as a citizen of a new city (recently-ish) and someone who may end up moving back to where she used to live for a multitude of reasons. As we migrate, we pick up where we left off; or, we make new friends, new coworkers, new memories.
Everyone has this thing about ‘holding on’ – to what was there before, to what memories existed, to what was good and what was stable at certain times and eras in our lives. We grasp tightly to relationships that aren’t working because of what used to be good.
I did believe in “BFFs”. I thought I had them. It turns out, I was wrong and it took me a very long time to grapple with that and deal with it but now I have, and with advice and support from new and rekindled old friendships and relationships, what I can say is this: I hold each and every memory I have of everyone who has ever been in my life in very high regard; I look back on bygone times taking comfort in knowing it was those people at those times in my life that in part, made me who I am today; I am walking forward with advice, wisdom and lessons that I took from the people I am choosing (or not choosing) to leave behind because they are the people who shaped me. But just because they were there, does not mean they always need to be there. I am at peace with that. And I’m ready to move on and make new friendships that are more appropriate and conducive to the life I have now in the present.
For those of you who do have “BFFs”, I think it’s an amazing and important friendship to have in your life and I don’t begrudge it. If that’s working for you, then that’s good – cherish and keep around the people who are good to you and have known you forever. But there’s a difference between being with someone through thick and thin because you’re still very much on the same page, and desperately clinging to someone that you’re drifting away from, who every time you become close with them, you end up sailing further and further away..
I have people in my life that I am currently extremely close with. In five years I can’t say that will be true. There was a time in my life when I would have been very stressed out about that fact and only now am I coming to realize how the natural course of life isn’t necessarily conducive to “BFFs”. And I’m at peace with that.