27 Jan Every Day That We’re Alive Is an Opportunity To Forgive
SOMETIMES THE MOST CHALLENGING THING TO DO is let go of who we were. We open our eyes at the dawn of a new day and we’re a new person. Yet, we cling to our past identity because it provides comfort and a semblance of control.
I reconnected with an ex-girlfriend on News Years Eve, although it didn’t matter what day it was. There was nothing romantic about it. We were two human beings, coming together as friends who had missed each other.
We’re different than we were four years ago when we dated in college. I’d never seen somebody so transformed. Perhaps I didn’t realize how much I’ve changed myself.
We’d seen each other over the years, although never for more than two minutes tops while quite inebriated at a music festival.
She was my first girlfriend and I’ll always care about her.
I told myself I harbored no bad feelings against her. When we’d see each other we’d smile and give a two-sentence synopsis of who-knows-what and amble along while our friends pulled us back into the action of the festival.
Inside of me, however, I always wanted to stay and chat for a moment, to at least tell her all was forgiven. I knew her family well and I even thought about them at times.
Her wellbeing lingered in my subconscious — I hoped she was happy.
Four years. A lot has changed in the four years since college. We dated for three years in those days of debauchery, a time where we barely got to know ourselves while navigating social hierarchies and striving for passing grades.
At a certain point, the relationship was taking more energy than it was giving us. When one card was removed, the whole castle came crashing down.
We didn’t truly understand each other. We were living two separate lives that we tried to converge into one that would effortlessly flow downstream, but we wanted different things; we were becoming different people, and rightfully so.
We were kids. We still are, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t matured. At that point, we just wanted to have fun.
And all too often, that fun was forced. Instead of being okay with just being who we were, albeit together, the pressure to fit in with the general mold together as a couple was too much.
On the day before News Year’s Eve, she texted me that she would be driving through my hometown and would love to meet up. I couldn’t say no, and I was excited to see her.
It felt like I was planning to see an old friend; I was.
We took a walk on the beach and went over everything — what we’ve been up to, where our lives are headed, but most importantly, how we’ve changed.
This past year has been the most transformative year of both of our lives.
I began taking steps to become the version of myself, one that I connect to beyond any uncertainty. That came through leaving my last career to devote myself to writing. My entire life has changed.
I started The Dare to Dream Podcast with one of my best friends, a podcast dedicated to living a life that lights your soul on fire.
I went on several spiritual journies and have had some essential realizations about who I am and what I love. I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything.
After several years of questions going unanswered, my ex has entirely given herself to Christianity. Her new-found love for life and her devotedness to something often difficult to comprehend is amazing.
It felt surreal seeing her again. We began laughing immediately, but something was different.
She had a twinkle in her eye; I felt less like I was trying to impress a girl and more like I just wanted to know what life has been like. I was genuinely curious about her journey, and she was fascinated by mine.
And then, she apologized.
She apologized for how she treated me in college, even though I told her how unnecessary it was. You didn’t do anything wrong, I said. I sincerely believe she hadn’t.
We were both just trying to figure out what we were doing back there, and there’s nobody to blame. But I could tell, that’s why she was here. This ostensible burden fell heavy on her heart, and she needed to speak to me.
You don’t need to apologize, but I sincerely appreciate it, I said.
Perhaps, it’s what I needed to hear. It may have weighed heavy on my heart too, that I needed to let her know she hadn’t done anything wrong. I told myself I didn’t hold anything against her.
Still, subconsciously I may have felt something has been holding me back from getting into a relationship again. I haven’t wanted to give up my freedom as I felt I had in college. Without my knowing, perhaps this was why I haven’t given it another serious go, backed by my entire heart and soul.
When she apologized, and I did too, a shadow of doubt faded with the setting sun.
Having the courage to apologize was a natural and genuine sign that she had grown. Having the openness to accept it and see where I could have done better was a sign that I have as well. I saw her as this new, beautiful person, with all the same wonderful traits she had then, but different, more open, more free.
It was a moment of catharsis that I didn’t know I needed. Maybe she didn’t realize how badly she needed it either.
At one point, we loved each other romantically. It took time to heal, and I think we needed to both go through the roller-coaster of the last few years to come to this point.
It truly felt good to see her and connect.
Each day we wake up, we’re somebody new.
Each day we’re alive is an opportunity to forgive.
Living with a heavy heart can only weigh us down. It takes courage to let go of the past and what we believe was done to us.
It takes courage to step into a brighter future, one which only we can control. But we’re put on this earth to connect. We’re alive to forgive and live with a lightness in our step and a smile on our face.
I still love her as a friend, and I’m so glad she sent me that text. It seemed like a small effort, yet it’s one that set us free.