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You stop waiting for them by letting things change. You cut your hair and know they’ll never see it. You quit your job and know you’ll never tell them about the new one. You let people into your life that you know they’ll never get the chance to love or hate or sit up at night discussing with you. You let the delicate pattern of the life you’d built with them dissipate and change form with the arrival of each new twist. You aren’t okay with it and so you let it not be okay. You brace yourself each time for the impact. You know that someday change will come naturally again and even that feels sort of sad.

You stop waiting by being vulnerable with someone new. You start giving your secrets away – the ones you thought were safe with them, until suddenly they weren’t. You realize that knowing you deeply isn’t an experience that was exclusive to them and you let that be as surprising as it is disheartening. [...]

You stop waiting for someone to come back by choosing to go forward without them. And perhaps this is the saddest, simplest truth – that we must deliberately move ourselves away from the people we have loved and lost or else we will stay lost alongside them. That forward, alone, may not be the most desirable option but it is the only one we have. And we don’t get to trade in our hand. [...]

You stop waiting for someone to come back through a series of slow, deliberate steps that move you away from the life you thought you’d have and towards the one that’s waiting for you. It’s the life that shows up once you make the conscious, uncomfortable decision to leave the past behind. To learn from the people you’ve lost and to embrace the people that you have left. To embrace the life you have left. And to bring yourself back to it as fully and wholly as you wish that you could bring back someone else. 

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