You meet up with your ex. You write a letter to an old friend. You search through your memories, looking for the exact moment things went wrong. You do everything you can for the ever-elusive goal of closure. Because if you can understand what happened, you can get closure. And if you can get closure, you can move on. Right?
I know why society is obsessed with closure. It’s a pretty concept. It wraps a story in a bow and writes the final scene as one awash in relief. It’s such a gorgeous thought, to come to terms with your life and let it go. To let it go and move on. To move on and be new again.
It’s just that I don’t really believe it. I don’t think closure exists. I don’t think there’s a lightbulb moment where everything comes into focus and you’re ready to fully move on, without ever looking back again.
We’re humans. We’re messy and nostalgic and prone to romanticizing the past. We have coffee with our exes and hash things out and a month later, a song comes on in a bar that reminds us of them and we feel tired and soft about it all over again. We write a letter to an old friend and place it in the mailbox and feel our feet solidly on the ground until a few weeks later when we realize that the friend never wrote back. We search through our memories and arrange them in a way that makes sense, until the wind blows and they’re scattered across our bedroom again. We find closure for a moment and we close our fingers tight around it. In the next moment, it’s gone again.
And then we feel worthless. What’s wrong with us if we can’t hold onto closure? What’s wrong with us if our lives are gorgeous and full but we still look over our shoulders at the past?
Nothing. Let yourself be human. Let go of the concept of closure and embrace the truth of it: that you’ll feel free of the past one moment and lost in it the next. And both of those moments are okay.