I woke up one day, and a group of people at work suddenly turned cold on me.
I was dumbfounded, asking myself why? what happened? This people used to be my friends and one day they just didn’t want to talk nor even have an eye contact.
Tried to reach out but didn’t work, until I found out the reason behind the drama and negativity that suddenly surrounded me. Let’s just say that office can sometimes turn into a telenovela, like a person can just say and spread bad, unfair things about you, and the sad part is some avid, loyal fans believed. So they believed, and so they turned cold. And it was their problem, not mine.
Yes, I was surprised, and a bit hurt at first. But later on I was even more surprised of how I handled the situation. I just let it go. I just simply let them go.
I asked myself, what happened to me? That wasn’t me. The funny dude with a nice personality has suddenly learned to let go of people? I mean of draining people? Where did that come from?
If you had a chance to know me personally, my initial reaction should have been to try my best to reach out and explain my side. Ask each one of them, what happened? That I did nothing.
But I kept mum. Shrugged it off and just work and work. Where did I get this peace of mind? Then I realized, there was one new thing happening in my life at that time, that could have been the reason behind all these. I was traveling relentlessly, using all my vacation leaves and weekends to explore the mountains, beaches and nature.
Oh boy. I didn’t expect that traveling could give me this perspective about friendship.
What traveling taught me about friendship
When you travel to a strange place, you meet a lot of people. Some would turn into good friends, but there are some whom you’d meet once, converse, share some thoughts, connect in a strange way, bid goodbye and probably never see them again.
Just like the solo traveler student we met at Tappiyah Falls, the rich and adventurous woman we shared a bottle of rice wine in Batad, Ifugao. Or the Canadian adventurer who hitched with our jeepney and insisted on doing the topload.
Most of the inspiring interactions I had when I travel is with the locals. In a world when you are surrounded with people who are working for money doing the same routine everyday, it is refreshing to talk to a local or an old lady who would remind you to take a deep breath, relax and focus on simple things.
You will always meet people. Some made you smile. Some were just okay and some gave you some learnings. You might not see them again ever. But it’s okay. It is okay.
This is the kind of wisdom that traveling, exposing yourself to uncertainty and even challenging your comfort zone can teach you. People come and go. Sometimes, that’s just the way it is.
On the other hand, more often than not, you’d meet people who eventually stayed, became your friends and continued to inspire you to live life. And the friendship becomes more meaningful because you are bonded with the same zest for life and passion for adventure.
Don’t get me wrong. I value my old friends. I keep them in my heart. But I can never deny the fact that the new friends I met during travels are the ones who gave me the courage to ditch the norm and go crazy for what I believe, and what I love.
A traveler on losing friends
Until now, still, I am not that sure. All I know is I have more peace. Traveling gave me peace and wisdom to let go.
The entire experience taught me to never make your work life your entire life, because when something dramatic happened at work ,you’re gonna be affected, or worse be devastated. I am lucky that this happened to me in a stage when I’m already focused on a different perspective, focused on what truly matters. Continue to do well in your job. Respect your job, but keep doing what makes you happy.
Just recently I had an unusual conversation to one of this group at work. He said he’s happy that we’re now okay.
I paused for a while, even told myself that I have always been okay. I have always been cool to them. No grudges. No ill feelings. Just plain co-worker relationship. Professionals. Colleagues. And I liked it.
My life and travels have made me who I am today. Still the nice and kind Jon that some used to know, but I can be firm when needed. I now have the courage to let go of negativity, and finally have the balls to stop chasing people.