Sure, life is short in some respects. It’s sad to consider that my youth is over, and to wonder whether I made the most of it. It’s a lot of pressure to consider all the things I still have left to do with my young adulthood.
But in a lot of respects, life is surprisingly long. Especially as technology advances, people are increasingly likely to have numerous careers and lovers, live in numerous cities, and ultimately redefine themselves time and time again. And as I grow up, and as the Internet makes the world smaller and smaller, I’m struck by something else: how hard it is to escape our past actions.
Little things: like how a friend who goes to Ottawa will ask if I know the person that they were just paired with on Tinder, and the thought that the other person might not get laid tonight cause they were a jerk in high school. And bigger things: like no matter how bad a breakup was, I’m going to have to text them eventually with a question or we’re going to run into one another at an event or they’re going to need a favour or an introduction.
It’s almost impossible to completely burn our bridges; we can only really control whether the person wants to hurt or help us once they’ve gotten across.
This realization is scary in part, because one realizes that the consequences of being casually a jerk or casually dismissive or doing a bad job – even just for a short while because we’re having a bad day or a bad month or a bad year – will inevitably have consequences. But the realization is also encouraging, because one realizes that there will be consequences for those who treat us badly. No need to lash out in the moment, because that jerk boss might have gotten more business when your friend asked for a referral, and that pretentious guy at the bar might have gotten laid when your friend asked if you knew anyone for them.
Be kind and patient – we all reap what we sow.