They, the universal “they” that tells the general “us” not to count unhatched chickens, go chasing waterfalls, or think the greenness of grass is brighter at the neighbor’s, also tell us to never burn bridges.
For most of my life I’ve believed this.
Of course I have a flair for the dramatic-I like to think every conversation I conduct should leave the participant in the same state of entertained euphoria as a concertgoer feels after a Justin Timberlake concert–so I say don’t “nuke your bridges.”
Isn’t that just the height of cleverness?
Well, I think so, even if you disagree.
But the “they” tells us this. And up until recently, I agreed. Not because of the typical reasoning, that being that you may need to one day retreat back across that bridge.
No, I believe that for the vast majority of instances, when you leave a situation or relationship, you’re not going back. There are usually pretty solid reasons you left.
The situation has less stability than a gaggle of Oompa Loompa hopped up on cotton candy flavored crystal meth.
The guy or gal has Hamlet level problems doing what the hell she says she’s going to do.
You split for a reason.
I’ve always thought you don’t nuke your bridges because, at heart, I’m a butterfly-petting optimist. Maybe somehow, someway, that drug addicted Loompa will want to come see you and make amends for chewing on your leg.
I’ve always wholeheartedly believed that the person or entity you leave behind on the other side of that bridge might one day come to their senses and want to visit you. And they’ll need that bridge to do it. Life’s too short to excommunicate those who seek reconciliation. At least those who never tried to cut your head off and store it next to the Ben and Jerry’s.
Recently, though, I’ve had that notion challenged and had to accept that, if something or someone is hell bent on depressing the detonator, all the hope and optimism in the world can’t save the bridge.
And while that’s sad, it’s a supremely important life lesson that relationship lovers should be taught in elementary school, right along with don’t put pens in the pencil sharpener and some kids’ parents are lame enough to put plastic, non edible decorations on top of their birthday cupcakes so don’t just dive in there unless you want bloody gums.
I’m just learning it late. Which is unsurprising because I only recently learned how the heart and lungs work together. A delightful girl, sort of if a pretty-eyed woodland fairy and Bill Nye had a daughter, dissipated my ignorance on the subject.
But the lesson on bridges is equally important to your health. You can kill your self trying to hold it together as the person or entity on the other end continues to merrily blaze away at it with a flame thrower.
Yes. Believe it or not. Sometimes the chicken can be counted, the waterfall is too awesome not to chase, and the grass truly is more plush.
And the bridge…you can’t burn along with it.