27 April 2009

What’s become redundant?

This follows on from conversations with 3kool about friends, and from The Possibility Virus Blog, which I follow occasionally.

It's about all the baggage we carry around with us, investing it with sentimental value when we should be moving on, leaving things behind when they are no longer of use to us.

Well, we all have things we can't let go of. My first ever teapot, Grandad's vintage tractor, Mum's baby grand piano, a trunk full of "memories", negatives of every photo we ever took, the suitcase of baby clothes in the loft... But are these things taking up our time and energy (as well as living space) that is needed to get us unstuck and moving forward with new projects?

It's even harder to be sensible about friends. You've been through a lot together, share many memories, still want to keep in touch. But it's hard to find the time when you get new commitments and they are so far away. You have a new job, they have a new partner. You are working full time and they are travelling the world. You are living in a rented flat and they are still at home rent-free with parents. Seems harsh, but these things do change your outlook.

Naturally you want to keep in touch. But it's hard to talk on the phone to some people, and when they come to stay you can't find anything that everybody wants to do. They talk about their concerns and you think "how trivial" or "how dull". You talk about your concerns and you see them glaze over - it's just not relevant to them. You try to explain your new point of view and how you arrived at it, but they don't really understand you any more.

At different times in your life, you have to let some people go into the background for a while, or even let them go altogether. To assign equal time and value to every friendship you ever made is difficult, and will get more difficult as time brings even more commitments and interests. Friends are friends because you have things in common, and when you no longer have much in common there may be little point in investing much effort in keeping in touch.

In a way, it's easier to lost friends than to get rid of material things. If you ignore your junk, it will still be there in the attic next year, but if you ignore your friends they will drift away anyway. Probably the sensible thing to do is to put some thought to which friendships are worth more effort, otherwise you could end up losing the wrong ones...

This has been a rather rambling post. Maybe I'll come back and tidy it up later.

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