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April 3, 2008

Goodbye, my almost

http://www.jewishjournal.com/singles/article/goodbye_my_almost_20080404

In a moment of pure feminine guilty pleasure I bought the entire first season of "Felicity" at a used DVD store.

"Felicity" was the anthem of my early college years, and I've always had a soft spot for the show. I started watching episode after episode, savoring it like a rare find of a favorite ice cream flavor. I didn't want to watch them all too quickly! I was so amazed to find the sheer innocence that was then considered risquÃ(c) and the amazing advice and life lessons that were intertwined in Keri Russell's curly hair.

At the end of one episode, we hear the voice-over of Felicity's best friend, and she mentions something along the lines of how everyone you care about was at one time a complete stranger, even your soulmate was a stranger at some point. The line hit me so hard, not because of its simple truth, but the reverse notion as well. That someone who was at one point in your life so important to you can make the transition back to being a stranger.

In an earlier column I talked about the differences between an "almost" and a "beshert," and how I will always have a special place in my heart for that "almost" who helped me to find myself and the person that I'm supposed to be with. What I realize now is that as time goes by, my "almost," just like nearly every memory of old friendships, is starting to fade in importance. When I look back at the things we did, the conversations we had, the arguments and even the laughter, it's all started to fade into the category of, well, not so important.

Since meeting my beshert I have continuously thought, "Oh, so this is what life is supposed to be like...." No little arguments, no tears, no fighting about everything, no self-doubt about the person that I am and the things that I want in life. At this point, nearly a year after ending things with my "almost," I've stopped thinking about him all the time; I don't really wonder what he is up to, and when I am in his "neck of the woods," I don't look around wondering if I'll spot him. I've stopped thinking about what his friends are up to and if they are getting together for events. All of those cares and concerns have slowly seeped out of my train of conscious thought, and I am now free to experience life anew.

I am constantly telling my beshert, "thank you for happening to me." Just like Felicity's best friend said, my beshert, just like every other person, was once a stranger to me and now my "almost" is slowly fading into being a stranger once again.

I just came back from a weekend getaway with my beshert to a spot that my almost and I went to as well. I was amazed that, although we did some of the same things, the entire experience was different. The city seemed like a different place simply because of who I was with there. The memories my almost and I made faded into the background with each moment I was there with my beshert.

Although some people might find the loss of memories sad, or the idea of forgetting a person who was once so close to you a downer, I think it is quite the opposite.

I think it is a true testament to the way life is. People come in and out of your life for a reason, and to know that someone who you thought was "the one," or who broke your heart, will once again fade into oblivion is a gift that life gives you. I am sure that if I asked any tearful person who has just broken up with his or her significant other if they are comforted by the thought that eventually the one who is causing them so much heartache will fall into the category of "not so important," I would get a resounding yes.

I salute the people who can remain friends with their "almosts," though, for me, I found that in the end cutting ties completely was the best thing to do. It seems most people I've talked to agree with me. Cutting ties allows you to become a free person once again, a freedom that allows you to reclaim yourself, your memories and the potential for what can be in the future.

My "almost" is now merely a name, a distant memory and a definition of the past. I consider my time with him my "old life," and I am thankful every day that I am now in a new one. My beshert and I climbed through the maze of the internet, of Craigslist to boot, and have connected in the now. My soul mate is no longer a stranger, and I am in a state of perpetual bliss.


Caroline Cobrin is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She can be contacted at carolinecolumns@hotmail.com

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