One the hardest things in life is to simply walk away. Try it sometimes when you are in an argument. The person you are fighting with will be enraged. They will scream at you to come back, call you a coward, gloat that you have given up and they have won. Walk out the door and you will have to hear about it for weeks or years. Yet walking away is sometimes the best thing you can do.
Violence is often averted and friendships and relationships saved by the simple act of walking away. As long as you come back, of course.
Much harder than walking away from a fight is walking away from your own life, your own stated values. It often requires a complete gestalt shift — a conversion of some kind — so you don’t see yourself as walking away from something but walking toward it. People who leave their families for another person have to be convinced that they are not so much leaving as being driven away or that the person they are leaving for is somehow a higher goal, a better love, a safer or healthier choice. Is it true? Sometimes, but it always will begin to feel true — never more so than if you feel the pangs of guilt.
Relationships are hard but we actually are wired to form new ones. It was essential for the survival of the species. Too many women died in childbirth; too many men died in war or while struggling with nature. If we couldn’t make new attachments where would we be?
Maybe the hardest thing to walk away from is yourself. We all have an image of who we are. We make commitments to others but especially to our own consciences. Deals with the universe if you like. No one, even killers, think of themselves as the ‘bad’ guy even when they embrace their own wickedness. They are locked into their own code of conduct and community — hence there is nothing worse than a snitch.
So where does that leave people who honestly think they are ‘good’ guys or gals? They believe in honesty but find themselves lying; they believe in strength but find themselves weakening in the face of adversity. How do you sleep at night when you feel you are about to break faith with yourself or someone else?
Mostly you don’t, I suppose. You lie awake trying to rationalize the things you know you have to do. Because sometimes it is not a matter of choice. Sometimes, things just get the better of you and walking away isn’t a positive thing but a necessary one.
Most of us only face these things once or thrice in our lives and the good thing about being older is that you learn that as long as you stay on your feet you can get to the other side.
And that’s ten minutes.