The turtle was always my favorite animal, when I was a kid. I remember we had to do reports on animals and I picked the box tortoise. I don't know why they appealed to me so much, but lately I feel like a turtle. I've retreated into my shell now.
I always used to be so sociable. The quizzes said I was an even divide between introvert and extrovert. I made the plans. I loved the parties. For a decade I thought that hanging out with my friends was the best thing in life.
I miss those days. I miss playing President in James's basement, surrounded by everyone, all of us disconnected, single people. Reaching out to each other. I remember overzealous games of Settlers of Catan, hitting Ben with an empty Sprite bottle because he wouldn't let me hold our cards. I loved when we decided to marathon a show together, being graciously served tea and snacks and inevitably spilling something on Megan's carpet. I miss the days when Shelley and I would have study parties, staying up late into the night, going for slurpee runs to 7-11 at two or three in the morning, the extra fuel to finish that paper by five or six and get a few hours of sleep.
I know this is all old news. It's all been folded up in a box for a long time, for all of us, now.
I feel like I was a much more flawed person then. I was more volatile and selfish, but now I think, at least I was passionate. I wasn't afraid of the judgment of other people, and I didn't resent it as much. Unhappiness didn't last long. I forgave and forgot overnight.
I want to be perfect. Like God is perfect. I want to be able to only love, even when I'm not loved perfectly. It's easy to love someone back when they're good at loving you. Really easy.
I haven't had as much to give to my friends anymore, and it's hard to pin down exactly why. And even though I know it's wrong of me, I feel dissatisfied that I'm not as loved, now that I'm not as easy to love. Now that I don't call anyone and make the plans, I'm not called. Now that I'm not the one to pop up the chatbox, saying hi first, the conversation doesn't happen.
I'm mostly fine, in my shell. There are questions. But I have enough. And I guess there are things I wish I could tell people. Something like:
A friendship is a gift that two parties have to give freely. If I haven't had as much in me to give as I used to, the gift remains, and we should both be happy with what we have. Don't think that I should reach out to you if you haven't reached out to me. I love you, but you and I don't owe each other anything. We aren't obligated. And if you think that time or distance or anything is able to weaken our friendship, then that belief is your personal choice. For me, a friendship holds within it forever all the memories of all the good times, and none of the bad. If you let it hold the bad, that's your choice too. But I'm going to do my best not to make that mistake anymore.
This is a new beginning for me. I'm taking a new path. I'm going to find out who I am this time. I'm not going to be satisfied with stagnating. I am going to create. I am going to silence the chatter, the white noise of the world. These spaces in my life aren't meant to be filled with easy, empty pursuits, or even with friends. My time is precious to me. I'm going to dust off my spirit, stretch it out, and see if I can make it fit again. I'm going to find God again—no, He's found me again, He has never hidden—
I'm going out there. This is goodbye. If you want to find out what my adventures are from here on out, it'll take your asking.
And if you want to walk with me, you may. I'd love the company. But I'm going this way.