This evening, I write this piece as a 19 year old woman. I acknowledge the limits of my understanding, the years I have left to live, and the seemingly intoxicating chaos which beckons ahead in the coming years-full of potential if only it is taken. I bring with my perspective all of the experiences I have had, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Between the highs and the lows an inner voice has always managed to remain that is perpetually tied to every decision I have made and sometimes, quite frankly, she hates me for it.

If this sounds like something a woman three times my age should be writing from her bathtub for her memoir, then I know we are going to strike gold in this meditation. I come from a place of genuine intentions as I sift through the feelings that rest in me and need untangling. At the heart of what I am grappling with tonight is the idea that all is temporary and that this does not need to cause pain.

In different times and spaces in our lives we meet people who may exit just as quickly or slowly or messily or eccentrically as they came. It seems most conducive to growth that we do not cling to these figures in our lives as the resistance can breed unnecessary stress, sadness, and confusion.

Sometimes a person may not exit our lives entirely, they might assume a different role-shift from a lover to a friend, a friend to an acquaintance, a mentor to a distant voice. We often mourn this change as though it reflects that there is a dysfunction in ourselves-why won’t it remain as it was, where did I go wrong, what can we do to ‘fix’ it? But, ultimately, these changes are as natural as the seasons themselves and as inevitable as sunset and sunrise.

If we adjust our expectations for those we invite into our lives and accept when certain dynamics are no longer fulfilling, we can avoid contrived conversations and empty promises. I truly do believe that the universe does bring people together again if that should be and that when we respect that a timing may not be in alignment, we let it go without excessive resistance to allow it to come back to us if it may. It will hurt to watch people you have loved or may still love fall in love again to someone new and it will hurt to accept that certain people may not be healthy to your spirit.

But, accepting change and realizing it is a sign of growth both in yourself and others will free you immensely. When your heart drowns out your mind and nostalgia lingers, try to find reason, try to understand why our paths intersect the way they do, and try to find beauty in the new roles, the entrances, and the exits all the same.