When to walk away
So there goes the summer, as swift as the sunshine in the northern regions of Europe. September was an exciting month that kept our house aflutter, what with our first daughter starting her formal education.
Time flies when you are occupied. Time flies when you are living life.
Summer has always been a kind of respite from the daily grind. The scorching heat makes us take refuge in the comfort of our air-conditioned homes. And when we do brave the elements, it’s to lie comfortably under the shade of a beach umbrella, basking in the sea breeze wafting our way. It is also a time of reconnection, of holidaying with friends and families, of flying across the miles to reunite with those we hold dear.
Like any other season, it never lasts long no matter how we pray. Summer’s ending sometimes also signals the closing of certain chapters in our lives.
I do not like the cold, but I like autumn for the sense of brooding introspection it brings. The leaves of the trees tease us playfully with their magnificent displays of changing hues from green, to yellow, to flaming red oranges and magenta, finally succumbing into brown and withering, descend slowly into the grounds. Disengaged from the branches, they carpet the soft earth.
It’s like the bursting of a thousand beautiful sunsets, leaving a tree standing tall and bare; its protruding branches and gnarling shape exposed.
I believe this is a helpful exercise we human beings can submit to from time to time.
And so began this long introspection. A careless word, a tactless remark, or a hateful comment can shun an artist into withdrawal, a writer into a block, or cast a friendship into doubt. Without going into the details of a series of particular events, the distillation of a long thought process culminates.
Our experiences, encounters and what we have learned from the world and our travels shape us. Some people grow with us, while others will forever remain in our past. Distance changes people. It opens our eyes into the realities of the dynamics of the relationships we have with the other people in our lives. We suddenly differ in opinions and disagree on things we once were on the same pages with.
And while everyone is entitled to have his or her own opinion, it is important to remember that we can all agree to listen to it, tolerate it, and respect it for what it is without necessarily acceding to it.
There are battles worth fighting for, and there are disagreements worth walking away from. While I admire people who stand up for their own principles, great care should be taken into account on its application. No one is entitled to force his or her own brand of morality nor push his or her sets of beliefs on another.
How thin is the line that divides basic human decency from anarchy. The idea of respect for each other’s opinions and actions must be taken seriously if we are to uphold each human transaction with great care and regard. This is the foundation of all relationships and holds together the construct of our social fabric.
But what option is left for us if someone in our inner circle invades this basic courtesy and insists on his own views and perspectives as the only acceptable course of action from which all transactions in that particular relationship are going to be based?
Taking cue from the earth’s shift into autumn this time of year, there are moments when retreating is the best option if attempts at decent discussions only escalate the issues. Arguments are futile and pointless exercises. We don’t have to make a fuss or drama every time. We don’t even have to say goodbye. Just walk away.
Somewhere in the western hemisphere, winter will soon come and cast its chill. Hopefully, this hibernation will be enough time for us to rethink our values, to regroup and to knock us back into our senses and see things in a different light.
Who knows what spring has in store.