Two weeks ago, a colleague of mine left the island for good. She did not renew her contract with our company and just went back home to China.
We weren’t really very close friends but she’s one of my favorite colleagues. We used to swim and snorkel together. She’s one funny girl. A bit naive too.
We said let’s stay in touch when she left, but I’m not sure if she’ll do. They all say this when they leave, but only some of them will do. They will keep in touch initially until slowly by slowly they will be busy with their new lives and the connection will eventually fade away.
For a person like me living and working overseas for 11 years, this occurrence is quite normal. People come and go. Some might become my friends, a lot will be not.
I tried to recall the people I have worked and lived with in the past decade and out of that, how many are my friends. Out of maybe 500 people, 3 have become my real friends to whom I am constantly in touch with and maybe 2 to 3 more who are usually on stand by mode, mostly quiet and invisible but are definitely there if you need them. A huge percentage of that 500 are probably on my facebook friends list, those who will like a newly uploaded picture of mine from time to time and that’s about it. Out of those, less than 10 have really become my friends in and out of facebook.
A lot of those previous colleagues and acquaintances have once become very close to me. A lot of them are huge part of my memories, good and bad. A lot of them are part of who I am today. However, no matter how many friends have I gained, one by one, they all leave.
No matter how close I was with some of them, we all grew older and we all grew apart. We went on separate ways and all that is left now are good old memories that we might laugh at in case a reunion happens, or in case someone opens up a facebook group chat that may stir up some excitement for a few days but will also die down as soon as the stories run out.
As years pass by we collect acquaintances, friends, experiences, stories and memories. But as we grow older, people leave and memories fade away.
People walk out the door and go on their own ways. And sometimes like them, some memories and stories also leave us. They become like fog in our minds, a thin cloud of unclear thoughts as we age. They become like shadows following us but we don’t usually see or particularly pay attention to until one day they are completely forgotten. They are like treasures you hide in a box that you start to forget because you have kept them hidden for so long.
People are like memories. As we grow older, one by one they all leave.