The Trouble With Meeting New People

As I have previously mentioned in another post, today’s society is unbelievably mobile compared to what it used to be. People these days are so ready to travel around the globe, and more and more are actually doing it. Traveling has become something that an increased number of people are able to do.

When you think about your parents or your grandparents, or in my case my grandparents, it was a big enough deal to go into the biiig, roaaaring, city of Ottawa, let alone out of the province or out of Canada. My grandmother once explained to me how she would visit back home from Ottawa Normal School. First, I will say that it’s about a 45 minute drive from where the college was to where she lived if she were to make the commute now-a-days, now, let’s take a little mental trip back in time.

It was the late 1940’s to the early 1950’s. My grandmother was attending college, and was dating my grandfather who was working on the farm. On the weekends my grandmother would go home to visit my grandfather, and what would now be a 45 minute car ride, then, was a 4 hour commute. First, she would hitch a ride with one of her friend’s from college who had a car to the train station. From there, she would take a train to a town near the one she lived in (it’s usually less that a 10 minute drive to get from her hometown to the town where the train station was). Then, from what I remember, she had, sort of, befriended the milk man in that town, so he would drive her to the other train station, and she would then take that train to her hometown where my grandfather would pick her up. Sorry Nanny, if I really messed up that story.

The details might be off, but you all get the point. I wouldn’t travel much further than Ottawa if it took me 4 hours to do so. It takes me 4 hours to drive to Toronto, and I could get many places with 4 hours on an airplane. What I’m trying to get at here, is that most people back in that time were exposed to a select group of people. I’m sure there was the opportunity for my grandmother to meet many people in Ottawa, but compared to the amount of people we have the opportunity to meet now, back then, the pool of individuals was very small.

Meeting new people is amazing! You get to hear new stories, have new experiences, and make so many new memories with so many different people. You have a wide selection to choose who you want to be friends with and who you don’t. You connect people in your own town or city, but then you have the option to meet people in different cities/towns, different provinces/states, and even different countries around the world. It’s a wonderful thing! You can choose how large or how small you want your network of friends and acquaintances to be, and I love to meet new people.

However… for me, and I’m sure for many others, this world of meeting and bonding so many amazing people is a blessing and a curse.

Something that I really struggle with is having people leave my life. I think this is something that plays a role in why I choose to stay friends with my ex-partners. When someone has influenced your life in a good way, and you have memories with this person, of course you want them to stay a part of your life. Facebook is a good way to stay connected, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are people who you meet, that you will never speak to or see again. I’m not referring to those people who you have a brief chat with on the bus, or in a store. I’m talking about people who you actually make some sort of life connection with.

Just think, how many times was the most recent time you saw/spoke to a person who was in some way special to you, most likely the last time you will see/speak to them ever again?

For me, that’s a very hard thing to accept, and thinking about it will sometimes bring me to tears… therefore I rarely think about it. But, being in Toronto, meeting new people, some of which I highly doubt I will have the pleasure of seeing again, and having to go back to Ottawa in a couple of weeks, triggered me to think about it.

People can be optimistic and think ‘well, maybe I’ll see them again in 10 years or something‘. Maybe, this summer I will visit Toronto and see these people again, maybe next year, but people get busy. People move away. People fade out of your life. Someone can say to me, “well, if you really want to keep in touch with, or see these people, then you will.” This might be true, but it takes two. Some people are willing to put in more effort than others. Not because they don’t want to see the person, but because it is not as important to them as it is to someone like me to keep people in their life. Or rather, for them the pain of letting go of someone from their life, isn’t as great.

It’s really difficult for me. Everyone you connect with plays a role in the kind of person you are shaping up to be. You are always changing. Some people influence you more than others, and these people are the hardest to let go of. Anyone can tell me that there is a chapter for everyone in my life, and I just have to accept that some people’s chapters are longer than others, and when we leave each other for the last time, that was the end of their chapter in the novel that is my life.

I don’t want endings. I hate endings. Some important people’s chapters are very small, but are very significant, so I try my best to hang on to the last page of their chapter, but eventually I’m forced, by the progression of my life, to turn that page. It’s like I’m reading a bunch of really great chapters in a book at one time, and sometimes I finish one, and start a new one. I can start many chapters at once, and finish many at once.

I would very much prefer to keep reading ALL of these amazing chapters that I start.

I understand that people can’t remain in contact with every person who influenced their life. I’ve had people leave my life and not return to it; they probably never will. It’s a part of life. It’s exhausting, and heart breaking. For some people, it is easier to accept, and I’m sure for some, they have a harder time accepting this fate that I. Nevertheless, that doesn’t change how much it hurts me when it’s all happening or I have a strong feeling it will.

So, sometimes, like in this moment, I envy a time when my choice of people to connect with would have been limited. There are different struggles in a time like the one my grandparents grew up in, yet, I feel that there would have been a greater chance to run into someone from the town over, than to run into someone you meet in a different country. I feel that, maybe, those goodbye’s would be easier for me because of the increased probability of meeting once more.

Then again, maybe not.

I’ll never know, but what I do know is that the trouble with meeting new people, is sometimes having to let them go. For now I have to accept and deal with my struggle of letting go that I currently face.

I’ll get through it all.

I always do. 

-H

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