I’m religious and absolutely believe good things happen to good people after they pass away, but “forever” has always been too much for me to grasp. When I was little, my mom and dad said I’d go to heaven if I led a happy, healthy life, and while I loved picturing myself in a perfect place forever — with infinite amounts of ice cream, water slides, warm swimming pools, cartoons on 24/7, and a closet full of Disney princess costumes — I wasn’t interested in being me for eternity. I wanted a stopping point, and that’s why I told my parents I’d prefer to sleep than go to heaven at the end of my life. Ultimate closure seemed more appealing than infinite greatness.
With plans to move to LA in the spring, I’ve been thinking about closure a lot lately. I never planned on living in NYC for the rest of my life, but a part of me expected to ride out my media career here. As much as I love the facade of glamour in the journalism industry, I’ve known for a while that the payoff doesn’t justify the tough winters, harsh culture, low salary, unreasonable professional demands, and expenses of living in NYC. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: I was inches away from hitting a ceiling, and it was better for me to jump ship ASAP rather than continue feigning satisfaction and fulfillment. I’d rather enjoy life at 25 than coast off positive feedback from readers, friends, and acquaintances. I appreciated each person who read my work, even those who despised what I stood for and found me insufferable. In the words of my buddy Asawin, every ounce of traffic and readership helps. But it’s not enough anymore.
I am going to start fresh in LA — my birthplace — and though some of my NYC friends have said they’ll miss me (or that NYC needs me), I haven’t tied up loose ends with everyone I care for, or once cared for, in the city. The bulk of my relationship issues stem from an unclear standing or end point. I’ll talk to someone for a while and the connection will abruptly end, or worse, fizzle. In the latter situation, I always want to know what prompted the change. What made you quit reaching out to me? When did you decide you didn’t want to communicate anymore? Why did you choose to close the door? Was it something I said or did I have zero control over this apparently arbitrary decision? No matter the reason for the demise of the friendship/relationship, this sort of thing keeps me up at all hours of the night.
I don’t know whether I’ll say goodbye to those who’ve disappeared or fled. Recent circumstances led me to cut off someone I respected professionally and personally. A part of me wants to be “the bigger person” by forgiving, surrendering, and truly believing the statement that “it’s nothing personal” when it comes to work, but I don’t know if I could handle being blown off or told I never mattered. Just so we’re clear, this wasn’t a romantic loss. It was a loss of a friend, and I’m incapable of pretending this person was easy for me to drop.
There are other folks with whom I may never get closure — because a). I have too much pride to put myself on the line or b). fear of humiliation. I’ve been trying to overcome my fear of relationship rejection, but the question remains: will speaking up do me any good? Sometimes it’s better to leave things open-ended and remember relationships when they were strong, not when they were non-existent and you practically had to set yourself on fire to get the attention of the person with whom you were once close.
I’m starting over, and hopefully I’ll be so wrapped up in my new life that I won’t be hung up on the relationships/friendships that faded away/explosively ended. I’ll think back on these people fondly, but have no desire to obsess about what went wrong in my former life.
So what does this all mean? If I met you in NYC, just know I’m going to take the best parts of you with me to LA, and when I get there, I’ll remember the good times we had, because those count for more than the disappointments.