These wind chimes are sacred to me, the symbol of a very special friendship with a childhood friend that I had to move on from recently. Sometimes, recognizing the need to journey on is just what’s needed, even if it requires grieving to process the situation and the deeper meaning behind the desire to take a break or end the friendship.

Learning to Let Go & Move On: Don’t Feel Guilty for Doing What’s Needed to Shed Your Past

I’ve felt myself outgrowing the friendship for a while now, but I loved having my buddy around to go back and reminisce in old streets with a couple times per year. Thing is, the visits were becoming increasingly one-sided in ways, or should I say that his interests and life were (and are) very different from mine now, though we do share a magic bond of sentimental depth that has helped both of us immensely over the years…

We’ve been each other’s shoulders to cry on over the years – I could say almost anything to him, which is damn important, especially as a man in a world where men still aren’t encouraged to be emotionally open in ways (we’re slowly but surely evolving in this area).

Now that I’m moving on from this roughly 25-year friendship, which didn’t end so well (he didn’t take it very good, especially since I’ve done this a few times before over recent years – I empathize with his frustration here, but I nevertheless need to finally make a clean break), I feel that my breathing is better, so to speak – I’m mourning the loss of him and our bond, but I also realize that our time had come. Why, you probably ask? Because he is a symbol of the past in a way that makes me feel like I’m in shackles, locked to my past in a way that was literally becoming suffocating in ways, as much as he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.

Sometimes, you have to trust your intuition, that feeling inside that’s “tapping you on the shoulder,” trying to tell you something. That feeling in your gut can sometimes be a red flag for the need to take action to grow in life, even if someone else gets hurt in the process. It is what it is – staying in relationships of any sort for the sake of staying in them isn’t healthy. It can be a delicate dance to understand this sometimes, learning to trust your gut and take the time to think (and feel) things through.

Don’t Expect Others To Always Understand – This Is Your Life. Only You Can Live It!

Learning to let go and give myself permission to not be “perfect” (whatever the hell that even is) has been absolutely life-changing, learning to self-parent, make hard, important decisions that have shaken my life up completely at times. I’ve got no regrets in that way – I did what I felt I had to do throughout my life, learning from every decision and experience that resulted from it. I said goodbye to my Mom in 2015 (without announcing it – I simply didn’t respond to her and changed my contact info, moving away – one of the best decisions I could have made as an adult, a man with a clear sense of identity and purpose) and created the type of life I desire – one with peace, space living by the lake, a few wonderful true friends and family I get along well with in healthy relationships.

It took learning what I won’t put up with, what I’m not willing to settle for and how I demand to be treated to create the life I love. I’m by no means lonely, nor do I desire a large family – I’ve always flourished on my own with only a couple deep, true friends. I accept who I am and now I love who I am – I love myself more than I ever thought I could. For that reason, I’ve learned to forgive myself and others, healing one hell of a lot of pain from my past.

Looking Back Now and Then is Healthy for Perspective – Learn From It and Be Honest With Yourself To Grow

Now and then I love to turn off my computer and take a break from the mission I’m on to simply sit with myself before my wife awakens. I reminisce a bit, listen to music from special moments in my past, look out at the trees and the lake and reflect on my life. It’s a delicious practice in self-care, “meditation” of sorts and grounding myself, feeling satisfied that I’m not endlessly running on a treadmill of building my online platform day in and day out.

In other words, taking a break is necessary to maintain my sanity and a healthy sense of living fully, not just in the moment and working hard. I need to reflect – that’s how I’m wired. However, I never reflect for too long. It can easily become too much, too fast, feeling like I’m living in the past.

There was a period when I wallowed in the past a lot – drinking to “feel” the emotions more deeply, stuck on certain women in relationships that went sour, missing the 1990’s when my life was full of firsts and freedom from having to know what I really wanted to do with my life – all that stuff. I had to begin to accept that as scary and emotional as learning to let go felt, I would get left behind and cause myself bigger problems if I didn’t learn to move forward and let go of the past.

That’s been really hard for me at times, but hey – I’ve done it! It was a pattern I had to break, one deeply-rooted in being emotionally sensitive, reflective and sentimental since early childhood. Trauma experts talk about the origins of being emotionally “stunted” (so to speak) due to early trauma and attachment issues/experiences. Whatever it came from, I’ve done the work to embrace it, see it for what it is and learn to let go, changing my thought and behavior patterns as a result. Nothing has been more powerful in turning my life around than in recognizing (and accepting) my thinking and that I needed to learn to change these patterns.

Thank you for taking the time to let me in to pour my heart out.

Yours in purpose and vulnerability,

Jeff