By: Allison Annala, IATG ContributorSeptember 23,2016
A friend of mine once explained the concept of “seasons” to me as: an ambiguous period of time in which we go through something. When the aforementioned experience passes, a new season may emerge for us. As someone who had primarily associated the word “season” with either a weather or a sporting connotation, this train of thought completely rocked my world. She was so right! The truth she spoke to me both with her words and intention completely revolutionized the way I looked at my life. Not only could my life be assessed as a timeline of events, I could also see the people who accompanied those seasons of my life.
Some friends are lifers. You know the ones you meet, befriend, and are there for you through just about everything? Those friends cover many seasons of your life. I have a small number of friends that fill that role. They’ve been there through it all, seen me through the tough times and the great ones. Sometimes they’ve sent their love from a distance, and other times proximity has worked wonders for us. Either way, they’ve made their love and presence known through words or touch or prayers for many years.
Other friends are seasonal, and though they may not be in it for the long haul, their impact is no less important.
These friends hold our very tender hearts for shorter periods of time, and while the time spent loving us may be less than the “lifers,” these friends can still have a transformative influence on our hearts. Sometimes these friends are colleagues, lovers, or mutual friends of our “lifers.” They are friends brought on by circumstance that fate and the universe have gifted us. These friends should not be discounted simply because our relationships with them are not long withstanding. Friends like this should be celebrated because they are there to help guide us through a certain season of life. Perhaps a job change has brought a new colleague to you, or a failed relationship has taught you how to love, lose, and move forward. While “lifers” are there to physically or metaphorically hold your hand through life’s long journey, many of our seasonal friends are there to teach us the most important lessons.
I’ve struggled with losing friends. I used to hold on so tightly and take their absence quite personally. I would wonder incessantly why they did not want to hold space for me any longer. Was I not a good enough friend? It was not until recently that I fully understood the concept of different seasons of life. I was finally able to comprehend that it was not that these individuals did not want to be my friend, or me theirs. It had everything to do with the simple fact that we had outgrown our relationship. We had gained everything we could from each other, and it was time for us to move forward and learn from new people.
Knowing this removes a lot of stress and anxiety from my relationships. I enjoy looking back on the relationships that I had the privilege of learning from. I think of those people fondly as I remember our challenges, lessons, and love shared. Looking forward, I hope to carry this mentality with me so as to truly embrace my seasonal relationships in the most incredible way… holding space for the hearts that need me and knowing when it’s time to share that love with someone new.
This week, take some time to reflect on your relationships and friendships, past and present. Rejoice in how far you’ve grown and how far you’ve come. Then show some love to the people that helped you do so.
Allison is a huge advocate for girls and women, particularly when it comes to body image and self-worth! She coaches gymnastics and teaches at her Alma Matter, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Visit her blog www.allison-lifeisbeautiful.blogspot.com