The key words for this year have been “letting go.”
As the year has progressed, I have had to learn to let go of my first truly meaningful relationship, of my ego, of my first job, of certain professional dreams and of the fantasy that I could somehow control what my friends did.
Foremost among these friends were two young women, who are, by this point, familiar to regular readers of my columns. They have been the greatest challenges and the greatest teachers I have had over the past year.
The first lesson, one that is ongoing, was learning to deal with the end of my first real relationship. In the end, it is harder when a relationship ends, not because of an unforgivable sin or angry words, but because of a quiet decision on one side that things aren’t working out. That it is harder because there is still the lingering idea that things could work.
When two people manage to remain friends, it can leave one asking the question, “Why not something more?” But in the end, one must learn that part of putting together the pieces after a breakup is finding a middle ground, the comfortable distance needed for both parties to heal.
Of course, some wounds stay open, because neither party can quite summon the will to close them. I have spent much of the last year watching another girl who was very important in my life slowly destroy herself. Because I was still raw and pained from the recent implosion of my relationship, I allowed myself back into my heart. And I stood by her, providing a parachute for the multitude of times she was forced to come down from her high. I don’t regret those times, because she is still someone close to me, someone who challenges me to think and reassess my life.
And, through her pain, I learned that one person’s problem is everyone’s problem. As I soaked up the pain of my friends, I turned to my own rock, my own person who could help take my pain and remind me of the joy in the world.
She reluctantly listened to my trials and tribulations, and was always ready with a joke or an elaborate story that would lift my spirits. She would vent to her friends and the cycle would continue. So, in the end, like it or not, we all share one another’s burdens. And, as for that friend who helped me, I’d just like to thank you. You know who you are.
I now realize that describing the thing I have learned this year about letting go could fill a book, and I can only make a weak attempt to discuss them here. So perhaps I should cut to the chase.
Within a few months I will be letting go, temporarily, of my truck, my home, my friends, my entire life in Tucson. At various times in the year it seemed that I was on the edge of losing my faith and my very sanity.
And so now I am now looking into the future, far less sure of my path in life than I was at the beginning of this year. I am not as sure of myself, constantly looking for new options in life. But, in the end, I am ready to take the plunge.
Daniel Viehland is a senior at Catalina Foothills High School. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TUCSON CITIZEN TEEN COLUMNISTS LOOK BACK ON THEIR HS YEARS