I’m not good at accepting that things end. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the end of a really beautiful song, or an exceptionally wonderful day, or my favorite book. I know that it is impossible to know when life is going to throw a curveball, and everything will change. I never want the moment to fade to black, so I make it last longer than it should. That’s the thing though, I know not all great things are meant to last forever. I think there are exceptions; I know that you can always listen to that beautiful song whenever you need to remember whatever it made you feel the first time you heard it. I know my favorite book can be reread and I can relive the ending. However, despite that knowledge, I haven’t quite come to terms that not all wonderful things are built to last the test of time.
I can pinpoint the biggest heartbreaks of my life. I don’t have to think too much about it, those moments unfortunately live very much in the forefront of my mind. Most of the time they take up residence in my memory quietly, and they allow me to politely ignore them. Then there are the times I am not so lucky. My heartbreaks are mostly made up friendships that ended in ugly words and harsh actions. They are made up of times I feel like I deserved more than what I found myself with. They are made up of when I couldn’t be the person someone needed me to be, falling short of what we both hoped for.
I hold on to relationships for dear life. The people I love, I love them with everything I have. I’m not the best at showing it all the time, I’m hot and cold, I go from chillingly distant to overwhelmingly present. I am not the easiest person to love, but I am alarmingly aware of how blessed I have been in my relationships. The relationships that I pour myself into are the thing I am most proud of, so much so that I am sometimes finding myself desperately trying to revive something that isn’t a source of life anymore. Relationships that used to be filled with vibrant love has faded into something that sucks the life out of any source it can. It seemed like the common denominator of all the dead plants I found myself watering was me.
I was talking to a close friend one night about a recent heartbreak when she said the words I needed to hear, “why do you keep watering dead plants?”
I am not sure why that clarified it for me, but something clicked in that moment. Pouring into something that didn’t supply a source of life anymore didn’t do anything but leave both parties empty. I needed to stop feeling empty. I needed to know that my efforts were worth something. I needed to see growth, and those heartbreaks showed none of these.
Bad days within a good relationship or a rough patch isn’t a dead plant. You will know when you’re watering a dead plant. You can seek advice and vent to anyone who will listen, but frankly no one but you can know when enough is enough. Knowing when you have had enough doesn’t make you weak. Relationships were not meant to be a daily battle. The people who are welcomed into your weird and wonderful world should help you grow. The people who have chosen to take on this life with you should be pushing you to do better and be better and love better. The dead plants don’t do anything but take up room in an otherwise beautiful garden.
I wish I knew why things end. I wish I had some brilliant scientific answer but I think it is simple and we overcomplicate it. Or maybe that's just me.
The world is always changing, and so are we. I'm thankful I'm not the same person I was five years ago, I'm thankful I don't want the same things I did five years ago. I guess thats the simple answer I try to avoid; everything and everyone changes, and thats why things end. Things end to lead into something better. Relationships die off to give way to the ones that need to form and grow to get us to the person we were meant to be. Maybe I'm not friends with the same people I was three years ago, and maybe thats for the best, because the relationships I am in right now, they don't feel like dead plants. They feel vibrant and alive. I see growth, and I don't feel that impending emptiness anymore.
My relationships are always going to be the most important thing to me. They are my absolute key to survival. I know the joy that relationships and genuine connections bring into this world. But I also know when to walk away. I know that relationships aren't suppose to make me doubt myself. I know my relationships aren't supposed to hurt. They aren't suppose to leave me empty and tired and used. If I am running to my confidants to vent daily, it's time to walk away.
If you know that feeling, that ache in your chest that is begging you to walk away, it's okay to listen to it. It's not cowardly to walk away from dead plant. There is nothing left to be salvaged. It is okay to save yourself. You were never meant to be run dry to make other people feel whole. The world needs less dead plants. We need more vibrance. We need more people that feel whole without running someone else dry.
I think when we all start pouring ourselves into something that actually breaths life, we're going to wonder why we wasted so much time on all the things that didn't.