Well. Here we are now. I can relax, start to evaluate, reflect on my life that whizzed by in the last 6 months. There was something kind of awful about the spring and summer. I guess I learnt how hard I can push myself, but it was to the detriment of my friends. Every week was a blur of work, eat, sleep- and my only social interactions happened with my coworkers and sometimes those I lived with. Don't get me wrong- I grew to love the people I worked with so much more, and to appreciate the inestimable value of next-door friends (you know, the kind who you can yell at across the yard and they'll amble over for a back yard fire, or if you've got a rare evening free you can knock on their door with a bottle of wine and drink and talk until the wee hours), but my other friends, my old friends, who lived farther away, or who were busy themselves, or unwilling to drop by spontaneously, those friendships suffered.
It's not that I grew to love them less. Not in the slightest. It wasn't that I wanted the friendships to end, or was subconsciously pushing them away- no. If anything, I knew exactly why my unavailability was causing them frustration. I knew that by disappearing I was asking too much of some. By being a terrible friend, I knew that I could ask nothing in return.
Yet. And yet, I continued this existence willingly. I tried- I really did. It may not have looked like much, but every phone call I made not work-related was a struggle for me. Every coffee date squeezed in between shifts meant a loss of an hour or two of precious stillness. I was at the point of exhaustion in my life where even to make a meal for myself was too much. I had nothing left to give, having given so much already to other areas. I was a shell. A broken body. A weary soul.
You may ask, why? Why did I throw away so much, work so hard? What on earth could be worth it? And this is where I can now clearly see my hierarchy of values appear. What is the most important thing on this planet to me? My family. More than travel, more than friends, more than boyfriends. If I want to be close to my family, I need to move. And I am in the unfortunate/fortunate position of supporting myself. I have too much pride to ask my parents for help. Which means working. For money. Filthy lucre. More than just enough to support my life. I needed money for plane tickets, for visas, for rent, for food, for trains.
And so I ask- can you blame me? Can you really throw guilt on my shoulders that the reason I disappeared this summer was to make money to be able to be with my family? That I called less than usual, that I never had time to hang out, that I wasn't there for big events, for weddings, birthdays, hospital appointments- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
But if I had to do it again, I would. And I'm sorry that that's the way it is. I wish it wasn't so.
Maybe I am a terrible friend, and this summer was just the breaking point. I have many, many faults, I know. I know that in a few months I will actually be leaving my family, to move to Australia (but that's just the hierarchy establishing itself again- once I have my family, the next most important thing to me is travel. And so off I go). And I would just like to say this. There are as many different kinds of friendship as there are people. It's natural for evolution to occur. People leave, and people come back, but that doesn't mean they care any less. I pick my friends carefully, and love them deeply. If you called and asked for help, I would be there in a flash. If you texted and said to come over, it's important- I would. I would get my shift covered if you wanted me to hold your hand at the doctor. No matter how much time has gone by.
So please, forgive me my shortcomings. Forgive the fact that I needed to pursue my dream of leaving a frozen city for somewhere warm. Forgive me for not having the free time to just chill on a sunny afternoon. Forgive me for not having the money handed to me year after year that would have enabled me to slow down. Forgive me for still caring and counting you all as friends, even when you felt otherwise. Forgive me for not wanting to give up or give in, even when things have changed. Forgive me.