Back in college, the group I hung out with would engage in an exercise called "Who would you want on the island ?" The idea was simple enough; were you to ever have the misfortune to find yourself stuck on an island, who are the 5 people you would want accompanying you ? In all probability, the people you chose to bestow this dubious fate on, would not view it in quite the same ecstatically touching light, but that's another story. What seemed to matter to all present was whether everyone from the group was included and most often, they were. After all, the alternative would have been downright crushing and rude. I suspect that you have engaged in similar musings, reader. Back then, being on the island list affirmed camaraderie, assuaged fears and doubts of ending up alone and friendless. In some landlocked area, no doubt. Today, if we were to revisit that list and speculate on our hypothetical fates, would any of the names match ?
Old habits, they say, die hard. I wonder how much easier or harder it is letting go of people and of things one takes for granted in life. In case you've missed the point over the last 150 posts, this blog is sautéed in nostalgia, indicating lucidly enough that I have trouble shaking off the past. But this tenacious hold doesn't extend to people, whom I am forever walking away from. A few frayed ropes have been re-entwined, but I can't seem to assign any satisfactory rationalisations for these. Most parting of ways have been brutal and lacking explanation. Sure, lack of proximity is a strong possibility. So is the lack of a common institution, one of the major reasons one's college friendships are so fleeting. Other popular contenders are serious disagreements, betrayals and assorted behavioural melees. Heck, even boredom.
But, is it that cut and dry ? We are talking about people; family, friends, lovers... another human being with whom you shared part of yourself. And, on that personal emotional level, I can offer even myself only a vague intangible; one day, it just does not feel right any more, and that is it. I simply let go. To you, reader, this may seem a callous approach, and perhaps it is. I'm not suggesting a lack of guilt on my part, just a sample of the circus playing inside. Out of curiosity, I'd like to know; when you feel the need to part ways, what noble and gratifying method do you employ ?
Whatever solution is bandied about, the end result is still inelegant and most often, ugly. I used to think it was hard to live with letting go of the dead. I was wrong. It seems infinitely harder to live, having let go of the living. More so when we're seduced by the thought of a relationship lasting forever. Or mesmerised by responsibilities that were shouldered on the promises of being glorified in the future but end up becoming crutches for one's ego. It is when these supposed certainties are snatched away that things generally start to spiral.
While this post feels, in no way, complete, I'm left with only two clear thoughts that can be put into words; that sometimes, letting go is the convenient option.
At other times, it is the right thing to do.
Song for the moment: Life for rent - Dido