Relationships : the state of being connected

This image created by Olivia de Recat really hits home. I couldn’t help but feel a wave of sadness when this image popped up on my newsfeed. Relationships change — people grow apart, people come together. It’s insane how accurate this obscure timeline is. Each line represents one relationship and with each relationship I am reminded of a particular person that fits into each category.

I met my “childhood” best friend in middle school. Being able to see her everyday at school helped bring us closer and brought this feeling of comfort that till this day is very hard for me to find with most people. I do think that being raised in the same environment is what brought this level of understanding that made us so compatible. I grew up in Japan — a place with a well-defined culture. The people I surrounded myself with created the values that I hold close, and the environment that we were all encompassed by shaped those values into future actions. I believe my friends accepted me for who I was because they understood the perspective that I had. The lens I viewed the world in were tainted by the conservative idealism that was followed in Japan. The older we grew, the more refined our view of the world became with the new experiences that we had to embark on. And when we went our separate ways for college, we unsurprisingly grew apart. This bittersweet reality was a stepping stone in my personal development. Putting myself in a completely new environment with no one to fall back on for comfort is what allowed myself to embrace change. The moments we reconnect is when I know will always remain friends and is the reason why I’m okay with how our relationship has transformed over the years.

Moving to college I’ve made such a diverse group of friends. Through entering this new phase of my life, these people were there every step of the way. They got to see me succeed, fail, and grow. Immersing myself in a completely new environment has allowed me to adjust my perspective through learning from such a diverse culture. I familiarized myself with the notion that its okay to challenge your values and ultimately make a shift. These were the years where I’ve learned academically and personally the most through the people I’ve met along the way. But as graduation nears, more and more people move away and with distance, people grow apart. But the idea that we’ve been able share a part of our lives together is what makes all of these experiences so worth it.

The curves on the timeline are very characteristic of a sibling relationship. There’s no doubt that siblings fight, but at the end of the day they always have eachothers back — after all, they are family. Being the youngest sibling I had the advantage of being able to learn from my brother as he paved the way of an upbringing full of love and laughter. I had someone I could look up to and footsteps I could follow behind for assistance. So despite the small bumps that inevitably come in sibling relationships, it is more or less stable, consistent, & reliable.

Parents are the backbone of any individual. I feel very fortunate to be able to say I have such a close bond with my mom. There are always moments where you feel as if you grow out of the relationship whether that be puberty (mom I’m too cool for you) or whether you go off to college but at the end of the day your parents are your own personal cheerleaders. Their the first people you call when you receive good news and their the first people you go to for comfort & support. Through thick and thin I’ve always had the amazing support of my family so this line shall always remain linear.

The imagery of a first love is sweet yet bleak. I’ve watched enough romcoms to know the stage of infatuation and the dramatic split where your once lover is now a complete stranger. It’s a classic story despite the disheartening ending. The sad reality is that people come and go. The person you once thought you would spend the rest of your life with can so easily just become another pedestrian. I think that is what’s so fascinating about romantic relationships — the amount of uncertainty that comes with it. Just like a first date where your both nervous about what the other person thinks about you, your mind starts to go off course — are we compatible? is he/she into me? the possibilities of the outcome of that relationship are endless.

This was a breakdown of all the core relationships in my life but one takeaway is that everyone’s dynamic is different. There is not a single “conventional” family pattern and I think that’s why I felt like writing my story because it would offer a different perspective. Being able to reflect on my journey has taught me to cherish these memories as you never know when these relationships can be thrown off course. Everyone’s pattern is different and I’m interested in hearing yours. Was yours similar to mine or completely different? If we were to take everyone's significant relationships and lay them on top of one another would they all align on a similar pattern or would we see an array of lines moving in different directions? Everyone’s story is unique and I’d love to hear yours!

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