Do It Happy: Entry #2
Mickey Roberts here. I am writing this because I’ve been feeling very sentimental about my family lately. And I thought it might be a good opportunity to share my thoughts on sentimentality. In my life it feels like there have always been two sides of me regarding being sentimental. One side of me cried hysterically for hours the night before my 10th birthday because, as nine year old Mickey so eloquently put it, “I will never be a single digit ever again.” And the other side accepts that leaving high school and saying goodbye to so many of my closest friends was, at the time, not difficult for me at all. I always felt this sort of guilty relationship with caring too much versus caring not enough.
I am still reckoning with this in my life today. I recently graduated college, after six years of undergrad at two different universities. Leaving the first one wasn’t hard. I cut ties with nearly 99% of the friends I had made there and never looked back. And it wasn’t for lack of validity or importance of those friendships, it was just because I wasn’t in a place back then to be able to appreciate the role those people played in my life. Upon leaving my second university, only a few months ago, a rather disabling fear came over me that I would lose these new friendships i’ve made and have come to love so dearly. Not because I didn’t have faith in the relationships we’d built, but because I didn’t trust myself– that I could be loyal to those relationships, considering I had a track record of cutting ties so quickly.
Of course, since graduation, things have most certainly changed. I see many of my friends much less frequently than when we had class together three days a week. But those closest friends, the ones I most feared losing, haven’t budged. I see them less, but I love them the same. And I know they love me. We talk consistently, we support each other wholly, and we appreciate the various directions in which our respective lives are going.
Looking back on my experience leaving high school, as well as leaving my first college, I think that I was afraid to stay close to friends in those final months, finding myself backing out of those relationships slowly but surely, because I didn’t want leaving to hurt. I wanted to be able to slip out unnoticed. The classic Irish goodbye, if you will. And, if that was my ultimate goal, it worked. In many respects I think now I would have preferred the hurt if it meant I could have had a few more months of those wonderful friendships, and perhaps a slightly fonder memory of how I acted toward the end of them. What is that cliché phrase people say about love and loss? “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?” I know I am talking about friendships more so than romance, but the sentiment prevails.
I spent time in my younger years believing fervently that the test of love is longevity. If it didn’t last, than it wasn’t love. But there is something my dad taught me a long time ago which has only begun to seep into my brain over the past few years. It is this…
“People are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” – Dad
The quality of my relationships are not validated by their longevity. They are validated by the impact they’ve had on the person I am becoming. I have met people on subway benches who have affected my view of the world more so than friends I’ve known for years. And I still endow the title of best friend to kids I’ve not seen in a decade. Those people made me me, and I hold those relationships dear to my heart. I would even say I am sentimental about them. Even though I “lost” them a long time ago, I didn’t really. I never will. Because my best friend in second grade, Michael Ambrose, for example, is in my head every time I see two young boys playing catch in the park. Rafe Singer, with whom went to elementary school is a huge reason I fell in love with learning. Seven year old Nicole and Christine Bloom made seven year old Mickey want to be an actor. They helped to build me. And that is something I can’t lose.
I don’t know if I am rambling or not at this point. But, in case I am, I will reel it back to the core. The thesis of this post is this...
Yes, I am afraid to lose people I love. But I’ll be damned if I let that stop me from loving people I might lose.