“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.”
― Steve Maraboli
My day started early today. At 4.30am to be precise. It was the last day of my brother’s and his friend’s visit here in Athens before they left at this ungodly hour to catch their flight back to Munich at 8am.
Both arrived three days ago and my boyfriend and me showed them the city in light speed. We tried to fit every important sight in those two full days of their vacation, ate delicious foods and just fell endlessly tired into our beds at around 9 o’clock each night.
Everything is fading
I hadn’t seen my brother for 1.5 years before that, so his visit was something very special to me. My brother lives in Germany, where we both grew up, and I live in Greece, therefore we don’t see each other a lot anymore. We might exchange one or two lines of text everyday about random things going on in our lives, but that’s usually it. He has his normal job, lives in his own flat, has a small group of good friends and all that Jazz… for me it’s normal not to talk a lot to him, but whenever we do I feel at peace and just very, very happy. So seeing him was a big highlight this year for me and knowing now that I will most probably not see him for quite some time again makes me sad.
My family was never really close. We all would always hold together, but we were never close. While my boyfriend has a long talk with his family over the phone almost every single day, I might Skype once with my mother and sister every two months and in-between exchange random text messages as well. While I think highly of the relationship that my boyfriend has with his family, and I secretly wish my family would also be a bit more that way (even 50% of that would be enough), not talking to them is still “normal” to me. I grew up that way. I don’t miss it, because I never knew it, and now that we’re all old and kind of awkward with each other, changing that feels weird to me.
My brother and me we were always a bit different with each other though. One reason for that might be his carefree nature and his ability to bond with everybody in his own unique way. But still I’d like to think that we understand each other on a very different level than the rest of my family ever could.
When I listen to his jokes, I feel at home; when I rarely hear his thoughts about the world, its problems and mysteries, I fully understand where he comes from. We can talk about rubbish or the most important topics on earth… for hours and hours.
I remember the nights when we all still lived together, everyone was already fast asleep and even I was about to doze off, when my brother suddenly made a strange animal-like sound in the middle of the night in front of my door in order to check if I’m already asleep as well or not. I would always respond with a funny sound as well. Knowing I’m not sleeping yet, he would enter my room and we would talk for hours about everything… me almost about to faint sometimes, because I was just too tired… he talking on and on about things that happened to him in his workplace, stories of his friends or whatever gaming console or game he wants to buy next.
Now while writing this down, I realized that I almost forgot about these moments and that makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I can keep it now and make sure not to forget it again, and sad because it shows how time flies by and how things slowly fade away. Moments, memories… and even his short stay here in Athens with us is over now as well. Everything is fading…
I cried yesterday, thinking about not meeting him for quite some time now and the fact that I cannot talk to him and get an immediate answer. I would have to accept that now I have to wait for his response again and that sometimes he wouldn’t even respond at all.
While I was lying on my bed, thinking about this sadness inside of me, I realized again what a strange feeling it is to “miss” somebody or, to put it another way, “not wanting somebody to leave”.
I thought further and asked myself what would happen if he would actually not leave? Yes it would be fun for days, weeks or maybe even months, but what would be after that time had passed?
Would I still be happy? – Maybe…
Would HE be happy? – Most probably not.
Would I still be happy knowing that? – Definitely not.
So why am I crying when I know he goes back to where he wants to be? To his job he loves, to his friends, his new flat, the city he chose to live in… Why am I sad? Or to ask differently: How can I even dare to be sad? How can PEOPLE dare to be that way in general?
How can WE want to bind a person to OURSELVES, because WE would feel better then? How can WE want them to live forever around US, so that WE feel secure, protected and that WE can keep on living together in “harmony” like WE always had? How can WE even think for a second that WE know better how others should live, what others should do or think because this would make them – or actually US – happier people?
The answer is that we’re attached to things that we simply can’t control and that makes us suffer, as Steve Maraboli perfectly explained in the short introductory quote.
If we really care for the other person, should we not be happy when they leave for something greater, experience something new or just go back to where they truly want to be even if it’s apart from us?
I think so and yet – to be totally honest – it’s pretty hard at the same time. The positive side is that this phase of grief never holds on for too long and especially now that my brother wrote to me some funny lines from home about his journey back, I already feel much lighter knowing that he’s fine and exactly where he wants and needs to be right at this moment: Not here with his sister, but somewhere out there in the world LIVING HIS OWN LIFE.