In October 2016 I travelled to India to celebrate Diwali with my family. In amongst all the excitement, celebrations, pujas and fireworks, I met some really amazing people, some for the first time, and others reunited with after a long time. However, some of the most memorable moments from my trip were from the people I met on the plane. Strangers. People who meant absolutely nothing to me. People who I would’ve walked right past in the street without batting an eyelid, yet for the reason of getting through yet another long flight, became handy distractions. In my flights to and from India I had the pleasure of talking to a doctor, an Islamic Scholar, an entrepreneur, a university student and an ex Indian Army Veteran.
Some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
The quote sounds a little bit wanky, but it does ring true to me.
People have been entering and exiting my life for as long as I can remember. Some I thought would always be there, but are gone. Others I thought I’d never see again, yet we still keep in touch. I guess that’s just the way life works, we don’t know what or who is waiting for us around the corner. It is up to us to pay attention and be ready for whatever and whoever life puts in front of us.
How many of you still have the same best friend you once had in primary school? What ever happened to your favourite PE teacher? Did you end up marrying the first girl you ever kissed? Maybe you did, I don’t know. But the likelihood is that most of these people were an enormous part of your life at one point, and now, are nothing more than a distant memory.
Memories that served you well. Memories that made you feel something, and perhaps taught you something. Your first ever best friend probably taught you the true meaning of friendship and gave you some of your fondest childhood memories. That PE teacher you loved might have been one of your first real role models, someone you respected and idolised. The first girl you ever kissed would have given you girl germs, opened up a new world of excitement, and ignited feelings you didn’t know were inside of you.
Sometimes we can look back selfishly at a memory with someone and wonder why it had to end. How did a loved one die so young? Why did your best friend move overseas? Why did you and the person sitting next to you on the plane have to go your own separate ways? What ever happened to the guy that you used to talk to at the bus stop? Why couldn’t you still be living with your old housemate? Why did that wild and exciting out-of-town fling have to come and go so fast? Why did it not ever become more?
Were these people in your life for a reason, or just a season? Why do so many of the good things in life only seem to stay for a season? Will there come another season where they fall right in front of you and bring you the same joy, excitement or intrigue that they once did?
Fuck knows, I’m only 24. Whilst I’d hope to once again rendezvous with the many of the significant people who have helped shape my life, I understand that we are each here on a journey and must continue along our own paths, letting go of what’s gone.
People talk about hindsight and perspective a lot. People can come and go from our lives quite suddenly, whilst others slowly drift away without us noticing. Sometimes we are the ones that choose to leave someone behind. Other times we don’t have a say in the matter.
Losing someone from your daily life can be one of the most harrowing experiences this world can offer. At other times, the absence of someone can be a huge weight off of your shoulders. Everything is circumstantial, but without reason. Or is it?
By now you would have thought of a few people who entered your life at one point, and have since left. Maybe they were nothing more than a work mate who has since changed jobs. Maybe they were your study buddy, but your ties to them ended at the college gate. Maybe they were once your lover and then one day shit hit the fan. I could think of a billion reasons why someone might have disappeared from my life and I still might not ever know the true answer.
But what if we did the opposite?
What if we took a moment to think why someone might have entered our lives in the first place?
Think of those people who have come and gone from your life. Did they leave you with anything more than just memories? Was there a reason behind their season? Do they remind you of the person you used to be? Is their memory a healthy reminder of how far you’ve come? Did they teach you a valuable lesson? Were they someone to rely on in a time of need? Or did they just bring you sheer happiness and joy for a time, and then left?
You might be able to answer some of these questions now, others maybe not until later in your life when you have experienced a whole lot more. It’s like that classic line so many fathers tell their sons – “one day you’ll appreciate what I did for you.”
Perspective and circumstances play a big role. Maybe next time you are in a relationship you will remember something your ex said and act differently. Maybe you will have kids of your own one day and remember what made your old teacher such a good role model. Or maybe the next time you have a fling, you will treat it as such, and remember that some things in life exist only for a good time, and unfortunately not a long time.
There is no doubt that this is a really positive way at looking at human interaction. We owe it everything, for without it we wouldn’t be the people we are today in this very moment. If you allow your mind to think back to your various interactions with others in a positive manner, you’ll agree with me that even those that are here for a season, indeed have a reason.