Last week, my parents and I took my cousin out for her birthday. This struck me as kind of weird because we’d never really done this for her before. We’re fairly close, though, and my parents have gone out of their way to do things for her before, so maybe it wasn’t as weird as I initially thought.
Still, it wasn’t a great night. I didn’t really expect it to be; as close as we are as family members, we aren’t particularly close as people. I don’t think we really have anything in common, and we both struggle to find things to talk about. I actually didn’t even want to go. I usually don’t volunteer to go to any kind of social situation where I know I won’t be able to have an actual conversation with someone. But for the sake of showing my support and care for her, I tagged along. We left the house late (of course), and as we took her exit off the parkway, we hit an unexpected backup of traffic. This led to about 20 minutes of my dad cursing, complaining, and being an overall uncomfortable person to be stuck in a small car with.
We met up at a Mexican restaurant, which I thought would be pretty cool because I’ve been craving tacos and quesadillas lately. It was packed, though. And I mean really packed, there were people trying to push through each other in the waiting area alone. When my cousin and her boyfriend came in, we greeted each other and chatted, but the place was so loud I could barely hear anything at all.
The noise didn’t really stop all night. My mother, who was sitting next to me, kept yelling so my cousin, who sat on the other side of me, could hear. And my dad, who spoke loudly all the time anyway, took it up another notch and made sure the whole place could hear him. I was mostly quiet. Sometimes I chimed in with questions or commentary to whatever we were talking about, but as with most social situations with my family, I was usually ignored or spoken over. Eventually, my cousin and parents ran out of things to talk about, and they kind of just faked their way through dinner until the bill came. And as with most situations like these, the greetings and goodbyes were filled with twice as much energy and enthusiasm than the actual get-together was.
On the way home, I sat in the backseat, letting a bunch of frustrated feelings simmer. My earphones decided to give out, too, so I tried playing with the cord to find that one sweet spot that lets me hear music through both buds. Alas, it didn’t help my mood much. My mind was filled with thoughts on how much people change and drift apart from each other, and I started yearning for the days when my dad didn’t flip out and shout as much as he does now, when my sister was still living with us, when my sister and I actually got along, and when seeing family felt nice as opposed to some kind of chore. And it’s nothing new; I’d thought about this a lot over the years and accepted that we’re all just different people. But sometimes I still wish for things to be different, and it frustrates me.
When we got home, I could tell that I was getting into one of my overly negative, over thinking, shitty moods. I just went through one a couple of weeks ago, and I really didn’t want to fall back into another one so soon, so I called a friend and tried to explain my night and feelings on it without trying to sound like I was about to crack. So we talked for an hour, mostly about how people drift apart and attempts to get close again (which that dinner kind of seemed like). And even though it’s an unfortunate, inevitable part of life, it made me feel better getting it off my chest.
Like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a new concept for me or anything. There have been many people that came and went, some more gracefully than others. It’s sad when people drift apart, but at least it’s better than relationships that end with one person hurting another. When people drift, at least they’re still on good terms. Meetings may be awkward, and they may never reach a level that you’d like them to, but at least there’s no hate. Well, usually.
And sometimes people need to drift from each other. It’s sad, but it’s true. Sometimes you think you’re close with someone, and maybe you were, but tastes and needs change. Sometimes two people need to drift a little and reexamine who they are. And that in and of itself is very healthy. You need to be comfortable knowing who you are and what you need in order to have good relationships. It’s just that sometimes, it turns out old friends and family can’t fulfill those needs.
It’s sad, but well… sometimes it just happens. And it’s important to be able to know how to make yourself happy so you don’t crave relationships that don’t work anymore.