Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Growing Apart

It happens to the best of us. A relationship born of fire and ice, anxious moments and lofty expectations burns brightly at first. Then over time and distance and changes within ourselves, something goes amiss. Friendships come and go and over time we grow apart from what was once dear to us.

The breakup is seldom dramatic, cinematic, or poignant. Instead, it’s an erosion of interest that’s been gradually razor-sleeved by commonality and now the mundane. What was once important no longer holds rein over your mind and ever so slowly you begin to realize that it doesn’t matter anymore.

If you had to do your ‘due diligence’ you would have seen a sometimes-gradual shift in interest, priorities, and attention to your present moment. And over time, what used to be important loses its gloss and glitter and attention to detail. It becomes just another facet of your life and in that maudlin state begins to decay from within.

Breaking up is more humane than pretending that something is what it isn’t. Somehow it is the right thing to do. There may be sadness but seldom regret. If any regret lingers it isn’t the fatal kind. It simply is what it is. Enough time has passed and other, hopefully better, things are now crowding your mind for attention to detail.

Some would argue that you’ve outgrown that relationship. They say people change, things change, life goes on…without you. While all those clichés might be flights of fancy, they can also be, more to the point, indicative of your present state of mind.

It happened here and it happened back home. Organizations, institutions, people, and activities that once seemed fulfilling are now passé or at best not as satisfying as my present host of new lives in both places.

When Sharon retired from a career in education she chose not to run for reelection to the city council. Her colleagues were stunned. It could have been a lifetime position they argued. “I’m moving on with my life” She replied. Some understood her reasoning while others simply didn’t get it.

When we first started coming out to Palm Springs it was fresh and exciting. We were exploring everything around us. I got involved in the writing community. We visited new neighborhoods, local and distant attractions, spots of interest, and of course, all the tourist traps. Then gradually continuing trips to the desert muted that enthusiasm for what we had already seen.

At first there were a plethora of consignment stores to shop for furnishings and items for our home. Gradually over time we filled every room and corner and consignment shopping lost its luster.

I used to go to Starbucks early each morning. But over time, a comfortable chair on the patio and cheaper coffee convinced me that I didn’t have to travel miles for a little quiet time.

I started working out at the Spa Hotel fitness center, moved on to the World gym then Golds Gym and finally the workout room at the Suguaro hotel on their social membership. It’s half the price and a lot more quiet. Works just as well for me.

The Palm Springs Writers Guild does a splendid job for novice and established writers alike. Yet over the years it too has changed along with its ever-evolving membership. I’ve belonged to several of its writers groups and participated in their Desert Writers Expo (book fair) several times. Now I find more and more of my time devoted to writing plays and focusing on my marketing efforts. The organization seems to have changed or perhaps I have matured as a writer. It’s still a worthwhile endeavor for me but not like before.

Palm Springs Parade of Lights

Our own neighborhood organization participated in the Palm Springs Festival of Lights for several seasons but that has also gone by the wayside.

Our lives in Palm Springs have changed and evolved with every trip to the desert. We’re established residents not settlers here anymore. We have a life that is patterned, comfortable and predictable. Yet we try to keep seeking new experiences and friends and groups that matter.

What used to be unique is now every day. What used to be important is now routine and matter of fact. Truth be told, nothing around us changed as much as we have. I’d like to think we grew and matured and gradually changed our priorities and interests and focus. In short, we grew apart from the things we once loved and liked and cared about.

It’s all part and parcel for the constant evolution of our lives. Almost as if life comes in phases and patterns and comfortable settings and then those also inevitably begin to change. Our children are born, get educated, married and then they’re gone. Grandchildren come and rapidly grow into adults. Change, as the cliché goes, is one of the few constants in our lives.

The secret I learned from my mother a very long time ago is to never stop moving, doing, creating and being. Just as places and people and events shape our lives so to do the actions that keep our minds fresh and alive. So keep moving and stir up the waters every once in a while to make it interesting. Hold on to the friends that you can keep and bid a hardy farewell to those you can’t. Wish them well and enjoy the ride. It’s the only one you’ve got.

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