I have a group of friends whom I have known (at least) since the 7th grade. Some I have known since kindergarten. We grew up together. In addition to learning Algebra, Biology, and Home Economics, together we learned about friendship, loyalty, and love. As a group we were there for each other as we endured the hardship of being away at college, getting over a broken heart, getting married, having children, and getting divorced. We celebrated each others? successes and provided shoulders during sadness.
26 years after graduating from high school, we are still integral parts of each others? lives.
Shortly before Christmas we gathered for an evening of fun. And before the night was over I knew nothing would be the same again.
I sat back from the crowd and watched my friends. I watched them interact with each other and reviewed my life and where I am right now. While they drank alcohol and caroused, all I wanted to do was go home and curl up with a Caroline Myss book, meditate, and clean my chakras.
Okay maybe I?m being a bit melodramatic here. I didn?t really want to clean my chakras, but you get my point.
I am in a different place than my friends. A year ago I would have been right there with them. I would have been loud, boisterous and, more than likely, drunk, just like they were. I would have been drowning my unhappiness in alcohol and laughter instead of facing up to whatever was on the plate.
And make no mistake, I do not judge my friends. I love them dearly and would give the shirt off my back, and even my last breath for them.
We are the same, my friends and I. Each of us has struggled with depression, with loss, and with unrealistic parental and societal expectations. We have each sought love from the wrong sources and took turns that led us down bumpy roadways rather than the smooth sailing freeway. We all seek to be accepted and want to feel secure in ourselves.
We are all, each one of us, flawed. Perfectly flawed.
But as I looked at them this night, I felt oddly out of place. It had never happened to me in this way with this group before. I have been on this spiritual journey for almost a year and gave up alcohol around the same time. I have been out with them countless times this year as the Sober Sally of the group and did not feel what I felt this night. So it wasn?t because I wanted or needed someone else to be sober alongside me.
I felt displaced and no matter what I did I could not shake it.
And then I knew. I knew that I had outgrown my friends spiritually. What is important to me has shifted and I am not the same person I was a year ago. I?m not the same person I was a week ago even.
As I drove home that night I cried. I was sad that my friends, with whom I have shared so much, will not play as prominent a role in my life any longer. I also cried because I was afraid that I would be alone. Let?s face it, my friends have provided me with as much social support as I have given to them. Without them there will be a void.
But I take heart knowing two things:
- The universe will provide all that I need, including a social circle and support group. Clearing the way will allow new people and new energy to come into my life.
- This is my choice. Every step I make is my choice.
My friends will always be my friends. I will always care for and love them. I will keep in touch and make it to gatherings now and then. But they will not be a priority and I will not allow them to be obstacles along the path.
My choices thus far have led me on an incredible journey of self discovery. I am happier now than I have been my entire life. I feel more content.
I say farewell to my old friends. And welcome to the new.
I eagerly anticipate all that is yet to come.