by Phyllis Chesler
Sometimes, friendships simply come to an end; they run their course, run out of steam, lose their once-common ground. Such endings are not necessarily caused by insurmountable political differences (although some are); often, they are about long-simmering problems that were never resolved. Enough becomes enough.
Perhaps one can better endure irritation, frustration, disappointment, even betrayal when one is younger. We have so many friends and acquaintances, the music is always playing, the merry-go round is whirling, we seemed to have more time, more energy back then, when there were far fewer medical appointments to keep and we had not yet begun to lose friend after friend to illness or death. We rather assumed that both they and we would live forever, that we could always make up later, that surely we’d run into each other at some happy gathering and our quarrel would be forgotten.
But now. Character seems to harden, age does not necessarily soften those who still tend to lose their tempers, make impossible and child-like demands, hold grudges, are unnecessarily cruel to others in public—or who simply talk too long and who never ask if this is a good time to do so.
I am mainly in my element, “lightened” and “brightened,” when I am exchanging ideas, analyses, with someone; I am not so good at listening to people who prefer to talk about…the dear and daily Stuff of their lives as if they are channeling Joyce’s Ulysses or Woolf’s Clarissa.
This is my limitation, my incessant hunger for knowledge, news, even gossip—it is my inability to settle for mundane matters that has always marked me, perhaps doomed me.
There is something poignantly Chekhovian about this brief essay. Hope it'll pass over, and you'll feel better
What you say is true, but with age, I find it harder to let go since I have lost so many friends and acquaintances to death and dementia.