I sat down at my computer trying to compose a note that would do justice to the eight years of friendship we shared together – a friendship that spanned not only the better part of a decade, but that had weathered the tests of long distance separation. My friendship with her was one of the longest remaining I had left. We met during my first year in New York; I was 18, she 25.
Now I am 25, and the amount I’ve changed and grown since I was an awkward kid running around in New York in too short-shorts and bowties is sometimes unbelievable. In fact, seven years almost doesn’t seem to do justice to the bridge that separates my former self from my current self. It seems like a few lifetimes have passed already.
But in those seven years, my friend hasn’t changed at all. She’s gone through every shade of hair color possible since I’ve known her and she’s changed the city she’s called home a handful of times, but she’s still the same boisterous, vivacious, fun-loving girl I was so captivated by the very first moment I met her.
So how then was it that I no longer felt the love towards her that I once did? I thought back on all the memories we shared – traveling together, stupid adventures that could only make us laugh, darkest thoughts revealed to one another in late night phone calls. The memories made me smile, for their sake alone I thought to push forward with our friendship.
But as time went on, I realized it was impossible. The fundamental qualities I once found so charming in her personality no longer resonated with me. I no longer felt joyous in her presence.
It was a shift in myself that took place after spending a month in India. I had been many times to India before, but never with the sole intention to spend time with myself, looking inwards and seeking quiet. When I returned, my perception of everything changed. I had destroyed much of the ego, and with that illusion shattered, nothing could be the same.
How could I tell my friend this? That her presence was no longer a source of positivity in my life – that she had done nothing, and could do nothing to change my feelings.
The truth is that I still felt love for her, and still do. I love her for the journey that we shared together, for the eight years of joy we contributed to each other’s lives. But I felt that now our journeys had diverged. I was meant to continue on a different path, and she had her own to follow.
I’ve been saying goodbye to many friendships recently: people who were once an active part of my life have fallen away. Behind them they’ve left a space of peace and serenity, a fertile ground where new love can flourish and grow.
What I find so beautiful in the Hindi word “Namaste” is that it not only translates to “hello” and “goodbye,” but it literally means, “the light in me bows to the light in you.” I feel within this word encapsulates the entire attitude we should have towards friends and lovers, past and present. It was the light that brought us together, and that light, that inner beauty is always to be respected. Even when parting ways you should remember and bow to that inner divinity.
Everyone is meant to enter your life for a certain reason, and sometimes that time is limited. We should not cling to friendship as something sacrosanct never to be broken, but rather some sacred that is to be celebrated. Everything beautiful is transient; cherish its presence but do not mourn its loss. Friendship arrives spontaneously and it can also leave spontaneously. When that feeling of love is no longer there, thank them for the joy they’ve brought you and wish them well on their journey.
The more you are in touch with your inner self, your true self, the more your friendships born from this self-knowledge will bear sweet fruit. This is the only real friendship, all else is an imitation based on the ego. Many times we go on collecting people just from fear of being alone. We think about how we can become friends with someone to use them for something.
Saying goodbye to someone who has been a friend to you is not easy, but it is sometimes necessary. Friendship is an exchange of energy. When that energy becomes unbalanced, it means the friendship has ended.
It is the most natural thing that it should be this way. The cells of the body are constantly renewing themselves. When they stop, it means you are dead. You as well must continually renew yourself. Be open to shedding the old to make room for the new, thank the past for its gifts but remain firmly planted in the present.