Ten years ago, I was in a very bad place in my life. I had gone through some things that I never thought I’d move past. Looking back now, I can say that these things have led me to the life I lead now. I don’t know if I would be a psychologist had I not had some of those experiences. But back then, in the midst of it all, I never would’ve thought that I would be sitting here writing this and having some level of appreciation for those long nights, those emotional days, those weeks that seemed they would never end and felt heavy on my back.
Through it all I wasn’t alone; I had someone along side me. Someone who held me while I cried but was feeling the emotional weight of it all too. And we tried to get through it together, to be there for each other. But when you’re a teenager and life throws you a curve you never see coming, you collapse. I collapsed. We collapsed. Our friendship dissolved because, in some ways, it felt like not looking at each other would get rid of the pain of looking at it.
And then life went on. We both did different things with our lives, went separate ways. We both struggled and dealt with things in the way we each individually knew how. I finished college, graduated, moved to Chicago, went to graduate school, completed internship, found a job. I fell in love, fell out of love, broke a few hearts, and had mine broken too. I did soul searching, struggled with harsh realizations about myself, attempted to make changes. I made peace with some things and realized there are other things I’ll always struggle with. And while this person would occasionally pop up in my thoughts or I’d hear of where they were or what they were doing, we had completely separate lives. We saw each other a few times, exchanged pleasantries, kept in touch over Facebook. But life had sent us down wildly divergent paths.
Some people stay in your life forever, some leave and never return, and sometimes, less rarely than I had believed, some come back unexpectedly. If you asked me nine years ago, I would’ve likely told you that I’d never be friends with this person again. But about a month ago, we decided to catch up. Randomly and for seemingly no reason at all, we sat down together and started talking. And then we kept talking. About life, about love, about where our lives have been and where they are. They are some of the deepest, most honest conversations I’ve had.
Ten years have passed since I’ve had any kind of real relationship with this person. Ten years. And ten years later, despite so many different life experiences, there is still something fundamental that connects us. It solidifies my belief that no matter how much time has passed, there is an energy that will always keep you connected to the people with whom you once were connected; it may shift and change and look different than it did before, and you may never see this person ever again, but pure honest connection never goes away. Sometimes this means you cannot keep in contact with someone (like an ex), sometimes it may mean it hurts not to hear from someone again, and sometimes it means that if someone comes back in your life when you least expect it, you gobble up the opportunity. Life tossed me something when I really needed it, even though I never would’ve anticipated it would come in this form. I’m glad I was there with open eyes and open arms to catch it.
I suppose the lesson here is that you really never know what life might bring. Not in some magical, mystical way, but in a way that every day, things are happening, life is unfolding, and truly anything can occur or come back around. You just never know until you get there.