We’ve all had phases in our lives that have had to come to an end. That’s how our lives work. We grow, we move on. Besides the lessons I’ve learned in those life phases, the most valuable thing to come out of those endings, are the people I’ve picked up along the way.
Friendship is a bit like fishing. Some people we catch and we keep. Other times, it’s catch and release. When a phase in your life ends, it can mean saying good-bye to some friends and letting them go. This isn’t always easy, but usually in hindsight, we can see it was appropriate. The ones that are special, though, the keepers, are the ones you end up taking home, cleaning, filleting and eating or putting in the freezer. What?
Perhaps I took the fishing metaphor a little too far there, but you get the idea. Some friends stay fresh, with you throughout your different phases, regardless of the ending or the new beginning. Some may get frozen for a time, but you can always count on them to thaw out and still be delicious. Too far again?
How do you know which friends are the keepers? Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sometimes when a phase of your life ends, so does that friendship. It can end because you’ve moved on, or they have. It can end simply because interests have now changed or you don’t mean as much to them anymore once you’ve moved on. In that case, a release of that friendship is best for everyone.
Those who end up as keepers are the ones who stick with you through the endings and cheer you on to new beginnings. It’s a filtering process, perhaps nature’s way of letting only the best survive in your life. The ones you know you can keep, cook and eat, or, not. Whichever. One things is for sure, you will value their friendship all the more. Endings happen to keep us moving. One thing ends and we move on to the next, sometimes whether we want to or not. In the Return of the King, Frodo said, “I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.” I am glad for endings. I am glad to have had the many different phases in my life and the friends I’ve caught along the way. To all of my keepers, I thank you. I will be glad to be with you, at the end of all things.
Sandra Wickham lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and toddler son. Her friends call her a needle crafting aficionado, health guru and ninja-in-training. Sandra’s short stories have appeared in Sirens, Equus, The Urban Green Man, Evolve, Vampires of the New Undead, Crossed Genres magazine, Luna Station Quarterly and more. She slush reads for Lightspeed Magazine and promotes the Creative Ink Festival for writers and readers.