April 11, 2022

It’s Normal to Outgrow Things—Even Each Other.


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“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time, we grew side-by-side, our roots will always be tangled, and for that I’m grateful.” ~ Ally Condie

There are times we need to let go of material things as they create clutter, cause us stress, and block us from moving forward.

Likewise, there are times we have to let go of people, as they also block our growth, cause us stress, and hold us back.

During the course of our lives, we’re in a constant state of growing out of one thing as we grow into another.

Our beliefs, feelings, plans, habits, clothing, homes, jobs, and even friendships can often feel like they no longer fit. If this sounds familiar, then you’re doing what we’re all supposed to do: you’re growing.

As we age, have new experiences, acquire new wisdom, and become exposed to new thinking and ideas, we outgrow parts of ourselves that no longer fit or serve us, and we also outgrow the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours of some people. And that’s okay.

This growth doesn’t mean you or they are bad people, it merely implies you’ve outgrown the things you once had in common, and you might now be blocking each other’s paths toward further growth.

I’m not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40, or 50. I’m not supposed to be. I’ve grown, and so have you. So, it makes sense that we might grow away from each other.

How do we know if we’re outgrowing certain people? Most of us feel it.

Conversations begin to feel awkward or forced, we might bicker more often over trivial things, we may no longer feel emotionally or intellectually connected or feel bored or disengaged when we do spend time together. The relationship might feel tight or constrained, like those jeans you outgrew two decades ago but hang on to “just in case.”

When we do realize it’s time to say goodbye to a friend, lover, business partner, therapist, hairdresser, or anyone really, we don’t have to be mean spirited or cast blame. Recognizing we no longer serve a higher purpose in each other’s lives is enough. Thank these souls for the shared memories, the lessons, and their role in shaping who you’re becoming. Then, wish them well and move along.

Life can sometimes feel like meeting a stranger on an airplane. We spend several hours sitting next to one another. We enjoy each other’s company. We engage in interesting conversations, have a few laughs, maybe share the arm rest, offer them half of our Kit Kat bar, or watch a movie together. We may even fall asleep on their shoulder and drool. Then, when the plane lands we say goodbye, head to different terminals, get on our respective connecting flights, and move forward.

It was a beautiful encounter, but your time together is over. Now you’re on different flights, traveling different paths.

We get this one big, beautiful life. And if we’re doing “it” right, we’ll have many beautiful encounters and constantly be growing and outgrowing things—even each other.

This is good. This is normal. This is life.


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