At the end of every year I say to myself, and others, that the next one will be better. That it has to be. And somehow I think the universe takes that as a challenge. Because 2016 feels shittier than 2015, 2014, 2013 or 2012 ever did.
2016 has already thrown a bit my way. Work has been challenging. Friendships have been tested, some have survived, some not. But I have learnt a very important lesson.
A while back a friend and I had a fallout. I apologized but she couldn’t get past it. And then she apologized but I was pissed off that she hadn’t accepted my apology. And so months went by without any contact. Then I heard via mutual friends she wasn’t well so I tried calling her. She didn’t answer. I messaged her and never heard back. I thought f_ck it and unfriended her on Facebook and unfollowed her on Instagram. While cutting ties in the technological age I noticed she had done the same to me. F\ck it once again I thought.
And again months went past without any communication. Then I saw a missed call but no message. And there was a whatsapp that I read and thought I’d respond in a day or two. I’d make her wait. I wouldn’t let her think I was too eager to be in touch. And then I forgot. And weeks passed.
And then one evening I was cleaning out all my messages and saw hers. ‘I’ve made her wait long enough’ I thought. And called her number. I was taken aback when someone said ‘hello’ fairly quickly and even more surprised when I realised it wasn’t her. It was her mom.
“Hi Mrs X” I said a little sheepishly, quite sure that she had heard all about the disagreement and the breakdown of an incredibly special friendship. “I was phoning to chat to X. Is she around?” “No Melinda. She’s not. Haven’t you heard?”
“She passed away last month. She tried to call you for a chat and a possible coffee to tell you face to face. And to say sorry for arguing over something so silly.”
And so already a crappy year, 2016 has taught me an invaluable lesson. Let the small things go. Say sorry and mean it. Move on and never look back. Shake those ruffled feathers and keep going.
I’ve also learnt there aren’t any winners when it comes to disagreements with friends. There are only losers. And this time round I’m the biggest loser of all.