I've been thinking a lot about friendships and relationships lately. When you're young, you just sort of assume people will stay around until catastrophic actions happen. As you get older, you realize this is not the case. Sometimes we hurt each other, intentionally or unintentionally. I definitely have made mistakes with people; mistakes that I may not have even realized I committed, but saw later. Sometimes we are hurt by others. Sometimes it happens repeatedly. And sometimes, we just grow apart, as our goals and personalities and interests change.
In my youth, I genuinely felt people had the best intentions for me, as I did for them, unless they blatantly told me otherwise. I've fortunately moved on from that painful innocence, and realized that plenty of people can act kindly to our faces, but the buck stops there. I still try to do my best to help others whenever I can. If someone is acting in a bad way, I try to see what pain they may be moving through that is causing it. But I no longer allow myself to be stepped on for the betterment of others. Sometimes people can be false friends because of their own jealousies. Sometimes they keep you around to feel better about themselves, but then if they feel that they no longer have the upper hand, they no longer want the friendship.
One of my most important friendships ended in an incredibly painful way, out of seemingly nowhere, due to this. Sometimes they subconsciously don't feel they deserve a true friendship, and will sabotage it because they feel that's what they deserve. I've seen that happen too. Sometimes they are selfish and put themselves first; looking back, I can see that I've done this before, though I try my best to make sure not to be that person any more. And sometimes things end for reasons we will never be able to rationalize. We are long lived, and that's just how it goes.
Eventually you find out...and it's a tough realization, but honestly not everyone is good for you. Not everyone can deserve friendship. They can always deserve love, and caring, and for your best hopes. But you can't always let them into your circle. You don't have the time, or the energy, because eventually putting yourself out there for everyone will consume you. Some people will try to take all of you. I've learned to curate my friendships. I've learned that I no longer have a wide sphere; I have a close circle.
But here's what I have found to be a silver lining, because with age comes wisdom (even for someone as stubborn as me). Sometimes people stick with you, and give you more chances than you deserve. And sometimes you do the same for others. And as time goes on, and you assess people around you and your own goals, I realize something. I am closest to people who are trying to do their best. They are setting goals, and sometimes missing them, but always trying for them. The more I have surrounded myself with people of strong moral code and ambition, the more I have found, you really ARE more like the people you spend time with. And I find that the spaces that were filled by those with bad, or mediocre, feeling for me, are now filled by those who genuinely care for, and inspire me. I've replaced what used to be a crystal necklace of friendship, with a bracelet of diamonds. And that can only come with time and age, and it is one of the sweetest parts of getting older that I've found.
I have friends now from every stage of my life, and we have all changed and adapted and learned, but we have stuck together. The wisdom to be discerning in who I let into my heart, is a lesson that hurt to learn, but was worth learning. And to those of you here, who have stuck with me through my trials, through my darkest days and years, I raise my glass to you. Thank you for being here for me, and I am here for you.