You see, 2016 was a crazy for me. I think it was for everyone. Prince died, after all! Well, for one, I went on an unexpected health journey. I never saw myself as one of those health guru types. I quit my job for an internship. And now I’ve quit that internship for one another, both of which I had thought at one time that I would be finishing the rest of my academic career there (the job and first internship)! I changed career paths. I lost some friends who I thought would be my future childrens’ godparents. I lost some lovers who I thought I would be having kids with some day! I, the in-her-comfort-zone introvert, went on a vacation by myself. I was on the planning committee of my university’s annual Diversity Conference. I did a lot more crazy things that were unusual for me, in 2016.
And although my 2017 has been off to a great start—my head is on the right shoulders, I feel like anything is possible, and the sky is the limit—I cannot but help to feel…strange. As if I have not made closure with my past. Closure in the sense that I have yet to understood and accept why my old self, old job, old friends, old habits were necessary for a greater, better me. I just keep asking myself why. Is it just me? Is it my life’s destiny? Why do things always have to change, so unexpectedly? One day after work, I decided to take the train back home instead of taking the bus like I usually do. As I was walking down the subway steps I saw one of those friends who I mentioned that I lost last year. For one, I was so shocked that I took a double-take. What was she doing here? She doesn’t even reside in the state anymore. It was, in fact, my old friend. As the typical, well-meaning person would, obviously I avoided eye contact, pulled out my phone to peruse a text that I have already viewed, and put my hood up to disguise myself as I passed them. Luckily, they were on their phone talking, and most likely did not notice me. I finally got to the bottom of the steps and prayed they did not follow suit. I feverishly checked and scoped out the people waiting alongside me on the podium. None of them were my former friend. I felt relieved, but there again was that strange feeling…
Here I was scurrying away from someone who I thought would be a part of my future, forever.
At that moment, I remembered all the times when we would take the T together after school and work. I remembered when we would happen to run into each other while running errands, we would run up and hug like a military man off of deployment reuniting with his trusty German Shepherd. And now I felt uncomfortable facing them. I remembered when they were my best friend. Forever. I thought to myself, maybe I should go say hi to them—they might like that. My rational self thought that wouldn’t be appropriate, that was the old us. Although we departed on neutral terms, we are still ghosts to each other, relevant only in our former lives, and to bring each other back to existence, reminding each other that we are still both very much alive…was a no.
At first I thought I was a terrible person, a terribly petty patty, for pretending someone that meant so much to me and still love dearly, is nothing but a ghost, or better yet, a stranger. However, on the train ride home I realized I needed that moment. I never really came to terms with the fact that we were no longer friends. Or that the old me is gone. Deep down, I knew why I wanted to approach her. Because I wanted to see if they missed me too, and if we could be friends like we used to. I wanted to revisit the past. However, that will never happen again. Wishful thinking. But that is okay. Running into them was mere symbolism for accepting all that was my 2016. Do what you can, work your hardest, love your hardest, but only in this moment. Life always changes course…
One of the most important lessons of adulthood I’ve learned through this is how to cope with change and loss. The ephemeral nature of life. Leaving jobs. Detaching from parents. Losing friends. Losing money. Losing your hair. Losing your sanity. Losing parts of your childhood self. It is that life has a funny way of reminding you to stay humble—that nothing on this Earth belongs to you. Everything is subject to change, everything is subject to be taken away from you. Not even your own beliefs and dreams may stay the same. At first, this epiphany made me very melancholy. Yet, it is a necessary evil with some convincing positive aspects. Without change there is no growth. That is what makes life alive. New lives, new adventures, new projects, new relationships. To stay the same is to have no life, no pulse. Stagnant. Death.
All we can do, and all we are sure of is that we have the present. We have life. We have love. We have our own bodies. And we are on the move.