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June 6, 2005 [ More archived home pages here ]

Days Of Wine And Roses Gone By

Using Skype, I was speaking long-distance for free with a friend I've known for decades and he revealed an important observation. But first some background on what he learned and how he learned it.

Some years ago he was wondering what happened to a woman he loved while at college. They had been drawn close together back then and as often is the case, had broken up under harsh conditions. Over the years he continued to think about her.

About that same time, he mentioned to me that he was looking for her again. He had located her using ClassMates.com but was reluctant at first to contact her. At some point I suggest he contact her and see what happens. Not so much based on my urging, he did go ahead and make contact. It was the start of good times for the both of them again. Apparently, she never forgot about him either.

In the intervening years since they got in-touch again, they grew very close to each other. Whatever brought them love at college, sparked and burned warmly once again. They started making plans for the rest of their lives together. I was very happy for the both of them.

Then the two started having a harder time together. Sometimes the friction between them would grow for a while and then smooth out again. In the end, they parted ways very much like how they had parted at college. I was very sorry for them both. We had talked so much during the times when things were going smoothly for them and I knew he was very happy during those times. I was even more sorry for my friend.

During our Skype call he told me that he realized that people don't change very much over the decades we live. We think we do, but we don't. The same problems he and his girlfriend had between them in college never went away in them as adults. When they joined up again, the same problems resurfaced.

I believe he has recognized something I never did before. The people we are often with see us as we age over time. They associate themselves with us because we don't exchange negative vibes with them. Friends we've known from when we were young liked us then and still like us today. That's pretty obvious, I know. But what about those special people we separated from for various reasons long ago?

The lovers we had long ago and broke up with might still see in us some things they liked and the things they didn't and vice versa from our perspective. What was once personal reactions to a breakup might now be viewed as objective reasons why the relationship ended. The feelings each had at that time of the breakup were probably valid. What we said was probably what we felt was true at the time, as unpleasant as it may have been to speak or hear in return. Those reasons might even have been justifiable knowing that even today we still might not get along were we to see and talk to them again. There is something very sad about accepting that truth.

The chemistry has to be just right between people. There doesn't seem to be a lot of room for tweaking personalities one way or the other when trying to get along. I used to think otherwise. I thought time and acquired wisdom and experience would have a greater affect on people reunited. Now I think I may have been mistaken about that line of thinking.

In some ways it's disillusioning to consider we don't change as much as we think we do. Maybe that's because I believed so strongly and for so long that people do change. In the end, I am a person who seeks the truth even when it turns out I've pursued an errant path.

I can find another path now and better understand myself and my relationships with all that know me and get along with me. To those that don't get along with me for whatever reason, I understand and accept the situation between us. No one is at fault in light of this message.

My friend who paid a terrible emotional price to acquire that lesson first-hand has given me a gift. Now I pass that same gift along to you.

Don


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