Well the Thanksgiving holiday is gone, along with the last slice of pumpkin pie. It was a good holiday, actually. You never know when family gets together how that's going to work because nobody punches your buttons, or feels more free to do so, than family.
This time of year always makes me thoughtful. Its nearing year end so I look backwards at things that have happened, not just this past year but over the course of several years. I'm blessed in many ways. I have close family. As mentioned above they make me nuts on occasion but I always know that if push came to shove they would be there for me. And isn't that what matter most? Not the petty little disappointments, or the times they were less than perfect, but the big things that really matter.
I have a career doing something that doesn't suck, that I'm good at and that suits my personality. And I'm lucky to have a good employer, great bosses and terrific co-workers. Its not exciting work and I'll never stand on the upper rung of the ladder, but I'm much happier as a grunt than I'd ever be as a leader.
And I have had many friends. I have some great new ones, and a few long term ones - a small elite handful. There have also been a few that I've parted ways with. Generally this has not been the sad occasion you might think. Sometimes you have to face the fact that you are different people now, that whatever connection there once was just isn't there anymore. And you know I think its better to let these things go gracefully than to cling desperately. Friendship should be more than just history; you should both still be getting something out of it. Maybe that something is just a shoulder to cry on, a shared laugh, or the one person you know will always take your side. These are not small things. Usually you don't need someone to "fix it" just someone with whom you can rest between battles. And sometimes you realize that you aren't getting anything out of it and haven't for a very long time. This other person is taking more than you have to give and you have to cry "enough." Its sad to let that history go.
Letting it go is not something I have done easily. Maybe I even clung longer than I should have because there were memories there. I don't regret the parting, though. It was time. I don't regret having had these people in my life, either. They are part of who I am, part of my personal history. And it wasn't all bad. I read somewhere that some people are meant to be in your life for only a short time, because you - or they - have something that the other needs at that point. Once that need is fulfilled, you each have to move on. A handful of people might travel with you for longer, a lifetime if you are very lucky. But if they don't its because it wasn't meant to be.
I count these people among my blessings too. It doesn't matter that they aren't part of my life any longer. They were once and they helped shape the person I am now. I hope wherever they are that they are a little better for having had me in their lives too.
Blessings. Past, present and future. They all matter.