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A hard look

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womanpicWith yet another year almost concluded, many are looking back at the resolution lists they came into the year with or at the very least, looking to how they can still salvage some points on their to-do lists for this year.  The last couple of years had some constants. The world economy is still in crisis and there are major dilemmas everywhere you turn.  The world cup came and went along with the pick for the next two world cup hosts.  There was unity through sports and attacks between North and South Korea. There have been wars and crimes against humanity mingled with small and large victories all played out on the world stage.

On a more local level, my dilemmas have included or been impacted by all of the above.  From wars to victories to the royal wedding, I have had my fair share in varying arenas of my life. I have struggled with the rest of you to keep afloat and make the most of the year.  This is nothing new in recent years you might say. It has been a continuous cycle as the world struggles to find its feet and individuals like you and me adjust to ever changing circumstances. Through it all however, there has been one new factor thrown into the mix which has pushed its way in.

As I stepped back and reflected on the year, I was thrown by one glaring fact. My relationships had single-handed overshadowed everything else that had come my way.  Financial issues. Job losses. Beyonce’s pregnancy. North Korea. None of these compared to the rollercoaster that was my relationships. No loss was as great as the losses suffered in this arena or victory as sweet as those encountered here. I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in a long time. I cried with more passion than I thought possible. My heart was broken, mended, smashed and patched up so many times I lost track at number 57,698.

In our life span, we have many people who come through and leave an imprint.  Some are very definite whilst others are fainter but no less impactful.  Our relationships with our families, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, teachers, bosses, boyfriend/girlfriend, exes, business partners and so on all contribute to what makes a year colossal in greatness or heart wrenching in collapse.  Yet most of the relationships in our lives have a time span.  Like all perishable products, relationships expire.  The difference here is there is no ‘use-by’ date noticeably displayed so you know when to move on.  This is particularly dangerous as those you choose to associate yourself with can have an impact on your finances, your health, your future and opportunities.

Towards the end of last year, I had to make the difficult but utterly necessary move to cut out people in my life who were not adding any value.  It was a harsh reality that became a necessity when one of my childhood friends yet again caused me such distress that I was in a state of paralysis for several weeks and had to go undercover just to recover.  That was when it hit me.  The relationship I was so fervently holding on to had expired about 3 years prior to my ‘walking out’ moment.  The interesting fact was that though I had faced the harshness of redundancies, displacement, debt all within the same year, I was not left as utterly devastated as I was with the knowledge that this relationship was now at its end.

At the start of a new year or even at the end of each quarter, the last thing most people do is re-evaluate the relationships that they have carried over.  Whilst making resolution lists, most people fit in things such as weight loss, or a new course of study or more travelling or calling your mother more but no one seems to include cutting ties to that ex-boyfriend that calls every two weeks to keep you open should his other prospects fall through. Or severing communication between yourself and that distant relative (your mother’s  classmate’s older brother’s wife’s younger sister) that constantly reminds you that you are STILL not married yet and getting on in age.  Or it could be that friend that always seems to turn every conversation back to her while contributing absolutely nothing of value to you. The list goes on.

I have used extreme examples but there are more subtle ones that are more personal to you should you put your relationships under review. It could be the person in your life who continuously teases you in public places and makes you doubt yourself. Or someone you keep close by just to prove to him or her you can make something of your life contrary to everything else they’ve said to discourage you.  As I found first hand, cutting ties to people who have proved to be an encumbrance to your progress is a hard road.  Especially as in my case, their only crime was that the relationship was taking more mental and emotional strain on me than I appreciated.  They did not doubt me or put me down.  They simply wore me down with the little dramas that no longer fitted in with where I was on my journey.

I have made no resolution lists. I simply want to make everyday count. I want to be working towards a goal so at the end of 2011, I can look back and say, yes there have been wars and crisis but I have been able to achieve what I set out to and was not derailed by a relationship that had long since gone past its expiration date. I want to be open to meeting new people and recognising their roles in my life. You are not made to cleave to every Tom, Dick and Tunde who comes into your life.  Maximise each relationship but know when to let go. It will breed a lot less headache for the new year than that weight loss programme you have signed up to which you know will leave a dent on your wallet and gut – and not in a good way! So maybe now is the time.  If you must have a resolution list my recommendation would be to examine what it is you want to get out of 2011 and start listing all those who propel you forward towards your desires either mentally, physically or emotionally. These should be your core people.  Everyone else is either baggage or family. Take your pick.

One Comment »

  • Andy said:

    This article makes me feel there’s so much you ain’t telling us. I have had so many shitty moments with many people I considered to be very close, but I choose to look at everyone being similar to a “gold mine”. There’s lots of dirt but somewhere underneath is some sparkling gold.

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