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Cutting Ties: Leaving Behind The Former Self

Sun in the distant horizon between a fork in the road

A defensive driving course instructor told a story about two of his friends, who ran the streets, partied and smoked weed frequently. One day, Friend B married his long-time fiancé. Unbeknownst to the two grown men, life as they knew, was about to change.

At an unspecified point in time, post-marriage, the instructor asked Friend A why he no longer hung out with Friend B. Friend A stated that Friend B no longer associated with him in the capacity that he had. According to Friend A, Friend B decided to focus on his wife and marriage life.

As the instructor further explained, the marriage precipitated a change in priorities, as Friend B realized that matrimony brought along a new set of responsibilities—being a husband, head of the household, and future father. Consequently, Friend B ceased smoking marijuana and clubbing, and began to focus on advancing his career. When Friend B stopped running the streets, partying and smoking, reduced were the commonalities he shared with Friend A.

In another scenario, a man in his mid-thirties was arrested for drinking and driving after leaving a house party. The ordeal and the all-encompassing legal proceedings motivated him to evaluate his life, decisions and reckless behavior. He stopped drinking alcohol altogether and partying. Upon modifying his behavior, the man realized that he shared little in common with his friends. Gradually, contact between the man and his friends dwindled until communication became virtually nonexistent.

I wonder how many people consider relationships and friendships as sub-cultures. There can be two or more people belonging to different demographics—age, religion, ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds, who share the same perspectives regarding philosophy, or world events and relating phenomena, and either strive to preserve or challenge these occurrences. Political parties are perhaps, one of the most relevant examples of this social dynamic. Within these environments, participating members represent a variety of demographics while having in common, certain beliefs, interests, and goals.

Thriving relationships, friendships and associations are contingent upon a continuance of members harboring similar beliefs, attitudes, values or interests. However, when members deviate from these subcultural norms, relationships and associations deteriorate between them and others. The same occurrence is common in marriages, partnerships and friendships as beliefs, values or goals shift and diverge.

People change in response to life demands—the catalysts of shifting priorities. There is nothing wrong with changing because the essence of growth and development is CHANGE. There is not a single person who is the same as they were born, psychologically or physiologically, for better or worse. From birth to adulthood, life impacted each of us in such a way, that our responses precipitated different outcomes. Our decisions and resulting behavior forged new relationships, partnerships and acquaintances, and dismantled other associations. In many cases, those changes were critical to our progression, achieving success, and liberation from destructively-oppressive circumstances.

A man looking back down a tunnel

The progression of our lives should reflect positivity, and growth in maturity and wisdom. We realize the greater rewards that life has to offer when we decide to abandon the people and things that kept us bound and stagnant. Unfortunately, some people are comfortable living self-destructively, unproductively and in stagnation. Life will require these individuals to come full circle, whether at the point of crisis or death, and face the reality of the choices they have made.

I’m here to tell you that it is an unpleasant feeling acknowledging the mistakes that caused me direct losses and setbacks. In several instances, I was given a second chance to make a different decision, which I made. As a result, I lost some friends and associates, but the long-term benefits are positively greater than I could ever hope.

As for some of the former friends and associates, they are in the same place that I departed from a few years ago. Their mentality has persisted through the years. I do not have to wonder what it has accomplished for them. Being in the same place of stagnation, drama and trouble is self-incriminating. If I retained a similar disposition, I have no doubt as to where I would be.

It’s okay to change.

Until next time….

Blue Wolf Penman

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