06 Oct

On Passion And Moving Forward


I have always admired passion in a person. The unwavering ability to believe in something and to feel so strongly about it that nothing else matters.

Soap-box preaching crazy heads in the town square? Passion.

Conspiracy theory touting evangelists? Passion.

Belting out a song about the ‘Mighty Fraser River’ to a small crowd in an out-of-the way bar while wearing fishing boots? Passion.

Crazy ex-girlfriend calling every night? Passion.

That’s what drew me to N. She was everything I wasn’t. Smart as a whip (don’t get me wrong…I do okay!), edgy, tall, outgoing, dating-a-musician, and just-this-side-of-crazy passionate.

We drank together, laughed together and studied together (we met in school). I was testing my new found freedom; learning who I was outside of the small town I came from and giving voice to philosophies and ideas long held in check. She thought me to be wise and full of good advice; I thought she was passionate and loved the way she embraced life in all her craziness.

She introduced me to Jason.

Not long after Jason and I started our life together we received a ‘Dear John’ letter from N. She was unhappy with the turn our friendship(s) had taken and thought it best if we no longer contacted each other.

I know! Unusual, to say the least, but in-keeping with who she is. We didn’t respond preferring, instead, to focus on building our lives together and moving forward.

Jason and I often talk about N and the influence that she has had on our lives. Without her, we wouldn’t have met. Without Jason, would I have found the courage to travel the world? To continue to step out of the conventional and live an unusual life?

It’s funny how one person can be a driving force in your life even when they are no longer in your life.

Another letter arrived a few weeks ago. It’s been ten years.

In it N says that she had been thinking of me, had plugged my name into the all-knowing Facebook and there I was! She gave me a quick update on her life in the past decade and wondered how I had fared.

And therein lies my dilemma.

I’ve never been one to dwell in the past. I am pragmatic and just don’t see the value in facing backwards when the future holds so much promise.

So…do I reply and start the often insincere catch up exchange? Or let sleeping dogs lie and keep moving forward?

Does someone who has so profoundly affected my life deserve more than for me to ignore her letter? Am I beholden to respond?

Our decision. We have decided to leave well enough alone. We will keep N in our thoughts and continue to credit her with our meeting and the passion she injected into our lives but don’t feel that opening that backward facing door is the way to continue forward.

What would you have done?

[Passion image courtesy of Juliana Coutinho]

10 thoughts on “On Passion And Moving Forward

  1. I wouldn’t necessarily think of contacting her as moving backward. In fact, it might be a move forward. Personally, I don’t think there’s any harm in saying hi and seeing what is happening in her life. Maybe you’ll reconnect at a different point in your life and rediscover a great friendship. Or maybe you’ll understand why the friendship ended and be satisfied with how things are and move along again. Or maybe it’ll just fizzle and no harm done.
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  2. Hmmm… good question. Did she mention the ‘Dear John’ letter she sent ten years ago?

    I probably would have replied, but I’m a sucker for out of the ordinary things that appear out of the blue.

    How did you feel when you got the letter? Did you want to reach out to her?
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  3. Fabulous post Gillian… thank you for sharing. I’ve had friendships end in awkward and hurtful ways in the past so I know where you are coming from. Now that I’m older, I am less likely to hold on to ‘delicate’, emotionally draining, friends. I keep the ones who make an effort to be a part of my life. Unless N offered some explanation for her past actions, I would tend to leave well enough alone. I would have likely done the same thing. Sorry you had to go through this, must have been difficult.
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  4. Great post! That’s a tricky spot to be in, though. On the one hand, 10 years is a long time; people can change, and change a lot in that amount of time. But, if she really hurt you guys a decade ago, perhaps you’re making the right decision in just leaving well enough alone.
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  5. I have to say, I’ve been the one to end friendships in the past (although not out of the blue as it sounds like this was for you). Although I’ve been tempted to rekindle the friendships I always remind myself there was a reason I ended things in the first place. Perhaps for N it was too difficult to see the two of you together, whether for reasons of jealousy or perhaps something more personal. You never know what could happen, but it seems like you were deeply hurt a decade ago and opening an old wound is not always healing.
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  6. You know me…always very wordy. Surprisingly so, not in this case.

    You and Jason made your decision with thoughtful reasons why not to respond.

    What would I have done? It would depend on whether I wanted to reconnect or not. If I didn’t respond, then I would be OK with it, because I made the decision.

  7. I have also had to make decisions like this in the past. And in the same manner friends have come back knocking at my door. Although in my case, I missed the friendship and understood the terms of the new relationship, and I was ok with it. So I allowed it again. But I tend to keep those people at sort of arms length now. Maybe that is also not good. These days I choose my friends more wisely!
    There is nothing wrong with giving thanks to what was and treasuring the memories.
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  8. I’m guessing you’re basing your decision on information we don’t have. The contents of the letter. Where she’s at right now. The sense that she has not moved on and you have. Without that information, I’d be inclined to say that you should respond to her attempt to contact you. Though a letter does sound a little melodramatic, and maybe it’s that that you’re fleeing.
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  9. I’m all about the past, so unless somebody does something horrendous to me – I’m willing to let them back into my life.

    But I can’t fault you your own decision. You acknowledge that role she’s played in your life and that’s a wonderful thing to do.
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  10. I always think that you should follow your heart in this kind of decision.

    No one else around you would understand the situation/scenario of what happened better than you do. If you have decided to leave it be, I’m sure you have and know the reason why.

    Everyone can give examples of their own experiences with friends but none will ever be the same. Unless, I experienced exactly what you had, I would not want to suggest what would be the right thing to do.

    You are the expert of your life. And, I’m sure you will make the best of this situation.


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