Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Releasing People

I used to do a talk on Decluttering Life. Decluttering paper, decluttering stuff, decluttering the schedule, and even decluttering people. On that topic, we talked about releasing the energy vampires, the ones who suck you dry and don’t give anything in return. I had done a pretty good job of walking my talk, and could honestly say that I no longer had any vampires in my life.

When we announced we were leaving Phoenix to go on our adventure, I had a friend get upset with me for saying I would miss my house but not saying I would miss my friends. I didn’t say it because I honestly expected to keep all my friends, no matter where I was.


Moving away from most of the people in our lives was the hardest part of this adventure. Some of them stopped writing or calling or replying to my messages. It seemed out of sight really was out of mind. Actually losing friends was shocking to me. I was truly – naively – expecting that we would stay in touch with everyone and they would stay in touch with us. (In my defense, I had never moved away from Phoenix before. Yet I knew that people who did move away didn’t always stay connected, even good friends. Bottom line: I just didn’t give it a lot of thought. Just had expectations.)

I did grieve the loss of those folks. But time and distance has given me perspective. You’ve probably seen that email that comes around now and again about some people staying in your life for a reason, some just staying for a season, and so on. It’s corny, but in my opinion, utterly true.

Although I never intended to consciously “declutter” anyone from my life, that’s how it worked out. Some relationships simply don’t survive distance. The ones I lost weren’t energy vampires. But you know what? I’m really OK with letting them go. Just like with stuff, letting go of the old makes way for the new.

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