From falling in love to the final goodbye

Dear C,

Can you believe all that has happened between us in 21 years?

I remember when I first heard about you, sitting in the doctor’s office, leafing through Fortune Magazine. There you were on the “best” list and I instantly wanted to get to know you better.

You checked all my boxes.

Our meeting was a magical manifestation. Your people swung by to talk, brimming with enthusiasm about the partnership. I remember them saying, “it’s a wardrobe too” as they handed me a branded t-shirt. Our first photograph together was not the best – I slept late, threw my hair in a pony, ditched the make-up, and definitely didn’t match my socks (but managed to be dressed, so you’re welcome!).

Once we got together, you took away my free lunch and made me relocate but took care of me in other ways. Job promotion, healthcare, new friends, unlimited opportunity, new challenges, and so many t-shirts. Also, you let me retake that first photo.

You accepted my unconventional hair and pop-up piercings. I accepted your traditional ways. Sometimes we tried to change each other. Always, we were better because of one another.

With you, I learned how to advocate, negotiate, and influence. I got to travel and explore. I surprised myself again and again while you waited and watched, giving me space to make mistakes and grow.  At times, I felt unstoppable.

For all of this, I am grateful.

And yet, with all we have in common – particularly the shared value of wanting to do good in the world – our path forward diverges. Maybe it’s rooted in our fears. 

You’re afraid to look too deeply within yourself. I’m ready to examine everything within me.

You’re afraid of what the “outsiders” think. I’ve started to define myself, for myself.

You’re afraid to make hard changes. I’m open to the possibility change brings.

You’re afraid of losing. I’m afraid of losing myself.

Your fear is holding you back; my fears are leading to new freedoms. While you’re holding on to patterns that (and people who) no longer serve you, I am actively releasing ALL that does not serve me.

Are you still wondering why I’m leaving? When exactly I made the decision?

As you broke your silence on world issues, I broke my silence on the people who were acting contrary to our principles.  Once my mute button turned off, I was no longer willing to sacrifice myself or my values (and I appreciate that you didn’t expect me to). Too often I question if your values are guiding you (I ask this question of myself as well), and yet I feel proud as your voice grows stronger. The difference you’re making in the world is undeniable.

I leave you while we are on a high note, while we still believe in one another, have deep admiration and respect between us, and speak fondly of each other.  I loved being on this journey with you. I’m grateful for every step, especially the missteps that made us stronger. While it is time to part ways, you’ll always be a part of me.

Let’s check our last box, together: a loving separation filled with cherished memories and deep gratitude.

XOXO

J

P.S. This letter was hard to write and even harder to share with you. It’s about how all of my experiences, and the people within them – good and bad – affected my feelings and choices. You’re still the best, you’re simply no longer the best for me, right now.