Everyone grows and changes. Relationships change shape, shift, begin and end. People come into and out of your life, some stay awhile, some remain for all their, or our own, lives. Those we’re blessed enough to keep in our lives grow, shift and change themselves too. Some pass over, actually leaving this world, and those remain some of my deepest memories.

Children grow up, the shape of those relationships change like the tides, close to less so due to their own busy lives, and wonderfully back again from time to time. We watch, love, ache, miss, adore and cherish all we are able to share. Grandchildren similarly. Some people simply fade from view like weathered rocks, leaving gently over time or in a blaze of some dreadful glory or other. Parents age and we watch and remember that they are, or were, merely human too with all their own struggles, fragilities and changes, wonderfulness and cleverness, sometimes we watch with pride, sometimes with difficulty. Friends come and go, some stay forever, people grow and change and sometimes we fit into the life they live right now, and then we simply don’t any longer. Those who weather the changes become friends for life and oh so important to our hearts.

It can be hard, these losses and changes, but also beautiful as we come to remember what each person brought to our lives, the gifts they bring, the lessons we learn and the hardships we share.

I have a lot of memories, so many pretty pictures in my head from times past, further adventures and shared experiences bring more and more as the years go by. I flick through the faces of all those who’ve passed through my life, whether they still remain or have long since gone from me, and I smile. So many people, so many loves, friendships, memories.

Then again I changed too, many times over the years and in so many ways. I wonder if I’m one of those faces to others, or whether I’m forgotten, lost in the mists of time. There is no sadness attached to this thought, merely curiosity. Do they remember me, as I them I wonder? It matters not, but I hope the pretty pictures I’ve left behind for others hold fondness, kindness, fun, magic and beauty for some at least.

People are amazing things whether good, bad or even ugly of heart. So much of who we are today is the direct result of our experiences of other people. Both the enlightening and treasured experiences they bring and the difficult or awful things, teach us about life, and about ourselves. That’s not to refute that I’d rather some of those bad experiences hadn’t happened, that too is true. Hurts, betrayals, the deepest scars are those created by those interactions with others. But so too are the joys, the exquisite moments, the magical memories that make us smile even many years later. From the deepest loves, to the random stranger who compliments us, those things remain with us long after they’re gone.

My life is very ‘peopley’, in work, rest or play there are always people and I do love to live my life surrounded by them in all different ways. So many people of so many different kinds, as individual and different from one another as wildflowers in a field. Some similar in ‘type’, but oh so many types there are. I love that we all share this one experience called life, we all live and breathe, love and laugh, cry and feel alone from time to time. We have so very much in common, and yet we’re all so very different. The perfection of human imperfection, beauty in all shapes and sizes, and darkness equally so in us all. Aren’t humans amazing things?

Sometimes, however, I need to be with just one person in particular. One that often in our oh so busy lives gets left behind or forgotten. Myself.

I’ve created many of those pretty pictures by and for myself, and the lessons or struggles that have happened – I was there – I’m a party to them too. Some of my memories are of moments alone, times where I’ve been able to contemplate, be with nature alone, draw within and be with myself in or for some experience or other.

So many people don’t like themselves, or worse. So many aren’t able to just accept who they are, always resentful of some aspect of self. I think that’s the saddest thing for me. I like myself, but I remember a time when I did not, and assumed that therefore there was nothing likeable about myself and thus I could not be really loved, for who I actually am.

I was wrong, I’m deeply grateful and blessed to be able to say. I learned to accept all of who I am, and continue to learn always as it’s a lifelong journey let’s face it, but actually, even knowing all my strengths and weaknesses, gifts and foibles, I finally grew to love myself. That’s a lovely thing to be able to say and feel. It’s really quite important.

We’re born alone and we die alone, no matter what other people we (or they) are blessed to share our lives with. Ultimately we are only, always and forever, with our self for every moment of our lives. We can share great swathes of our lives with others and revel in the complicated beauty of that, but if we cannot simply and comfortably be with ourselves, it’s a difficult life to live. Alone and loneliness are difficult things, but if we’re comfortable with our self, it’s all navigable.

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