Updated: Mar 3, 2021
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn growing up was that my relationships didn't always last a lifetime. As a young girl, I had many friends within my elementary school walls in which I could bashfully joke with between classes. At the end of each year, I looked forward to crowding the cafeteria, so that all of my forever buddies could rush to sign my colorful LifeTouch pages with "I'll miss you BFF", marked with stars, hearts and circles in glitter gel ink.
It took a while, but by my sophomore year in high school I realized my social circle was not the same as I had been accustomed too. Some people had moved away, while others had formed their own clique. For context, I went to school in a wealthy suburban community, and there were noticeably distinct groups - our friendly childhood innocence had disappeared. We had your cliche mean girls, cheerleaders, goths, etc.
With each passing year, I noticed more of my relationships (platonic and familial) disseminating. The biggest change hit when I moved to college. Up until my senior year, I was able to maintain friendships, which I honestly felt would be lifelong. Yet, when I moved away to begin my secondary education (3 hours+ from said high school friends) conversations made an abrupt stop. It felt foreign - how did I go from daily texts with someone I've known for 10 years to not speaking at all? This soon was followed by awkward "How have you been?" messages like we were mere acquaintances. Just a year ago, I had looked at this person like my sister, yet here we were, fumbling to hold a conversation. It wasn't right, and I didn't know how to fix it.
As expected, a couple of my relationships hit rock bottom. Our emotions tussled from the built up anger and frustration in our current state. How did we get here best friend? Neither of us understood that we were simply at a different place in life and we couldn't walk this path together like we had always done before. This is elevation.
Beginning something anew is exciting, fresh and fun. It brings butterflies, good anxiety and new adventures to discover. On the flip side, often times when you level up, you will leave those you care for behind. This is because we don't all move at the same pace. That's not to say we won't all succeed, just that we reach the finish line on separate tracks. When I went to college, several of my BFFs did not, so they were unable to relate to this newfound journey. They weren't on a campus in study groups, finding themselves away from home. They were still home, trying to figure out their next move after graduation. When we did catch up, it was hard for us to understand perspectives, as teenagers caught up in our own worlds.
Whenever I have made a significant stride in my adult life I have noticed separation. From entrepreneurship, marriage, being a parent, and buying our first home, each milestone had come with a degree of distance between me and someone I once was deeply connected too. There was never an announcement to say "I'm done with you because you aren't on my level"... but you notice things in your relationship aren't the same. You stop talking as often or the conversation is more casual and less meaningful. You may not see them regularly or only hear about them from others (this is more common in familial relationships). You may even feel shade from social media posts - FYI, this is childish and I highly recommend avoiding this tactic. If you notice a change in your relationship with anyone, address them directly, do not shade them or subliminally mention them on any social media platform.
As you reach new pinnacles in your life, I advise you to take inventory of those around you. This action will show who you've lost (and gained) along the way. You may notice that its time to release loose ends or that someone you thought was temporary has stood the test of time and could take on a more permanent role. Be mindful of the energy around you, as this will push you forward or keep you stagnant. You want friends who celebrate when you win, push you to be better, and can be honest with you through tough times.
A word of wisdom: you must be mature enough to realize you may be cut off for someone else's growth. Separation has no bounds, so don't get caught up in your feelings if you find yourself left behind because a friend is now a foe. It's okay if you were a Season in their life. When you are focused on positivity and move with good intention, you will reap the benefits in due time.
Lastly, understand that separation is not necessarily permanent. Just because you and your cousin fell off after you got married for a few months doesn't mean you can't reconnect later. Right now, you are moving down Path A and s/he is moving down Path C... there may be an opportunity for you to reconcile down the road once you both reach a space of harmony. Enjoy your current experiences and keep your heart open to the opportunity for a redo in the future.