Someone from my new gym moved away. We were only gym acquaintances, nothing more. Yet I felt a sense of loss as I went to the gym and he wasn’t there. In a place where most folks don’t acknowledge you, he was the one who knew everyone’s name. The bright spot.
The sadness is short-lived. It’s not like losing a close friend but it made me reflect on other soft losses. It’s different from a hard or tragic loss – death, divorce, illness – all of the biggies.
The first time I recognized this kind of loss was when I started working. It took me a few years to really click with someone and we became friends. The kind of friends that do things outside of work. It lasted six months and then she moved to the city. It was like breaking up with a new boyfriend although I was happy for her. It was her dream but I felt left behind. We continued to be friends for a few years. I visit her but she rarely came this way. The city was too exciting to leave. When the kids came, it became complicated. I haven’t seen her in 30 years.
It’s not just people. I used to live a block off of a woman’s college campus. Unlike other campuses, this was a civilized one. No wild parties or annoying events but there was excitement and people around. Every year after graduation, when everything was quiet, there was a sadness about it. I called it my “empty nest” syndrome. It was quiet until the end of August, when bikers and joggers from the college started roaming the neighborhood again.
Turnover at my local coffee shop is a double-edged sword. That job is a stepping stone. It’s just “until my classes start.” Or “until I find a permanent job.” I still miss them when they go. And there is the agony of retraining. A selfish soft loss.
Changing seasons give me a sense of loss especially when I leave one of my favorites behind. (Especially when my favorite was a huge disappointment this year. Yes, I’m talking to you Mother Nature!)
Finding out that someone you looked up to is capable of disappointment is another soft loss. This happens with professionals. You realize that doctors and dentists don’t have all the answers. Sometimes the answer changes. There are technicians who didn’t take the extra time required causing a series of mishaps. All disappointments.
It’s a matter of maturing. One day you are young and idealistic. You think people are perfect and nothing will change. Then you realize that they aren’t any more perfect than you are.
There are new people to meet but the rose-colored glasses have been left somewhere along the way. Perhaps that’s for the best.
There is something to be said for low expectations.