Lando Han Solo CarboniteHere is a bit of advice for younger readers of this blog: One day you will have friends who will wish you were like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. You will meet these individuals at a young age, and as both of you become older they will always identify you with a very specific time and a very specific place. They will refuse to accept that people mature and change over the years, and their attempts to keep you in a mental and spiritual state of suspended animation will leave you puzzled as to how to properly respond. If tactful attempts to show them that hanging on too tightly to the past is unhealthy, then you must move on — not necessarily in dramatic fashion — but you must move on.

Han Solo CarboniteCells die in your body every single day. Over the course of many months, all of your cells are replaced with new cells. Physically, you become a different person. Mentally and spiritually, you also go through changes over the course of your life. The “core” of your being (the “you” behind the “you”) basically stays the same, but for all intents and purposes you are a different person. Some of your friends will become attached to the 2015 version of you and, like a favorite car, they will do anything they can to keep you just as you were when you first rolled up their driveway. If you want to become the best version of yourself possible, then placating this desire among those friends must be avoided at all costs.

Although there are probably countless variations of the Boba Fett-type of friend, my own personal experiences come in two varieties:

  • The friend who wishes the “old” me (i.e., immature prankster) still existed.
  • The friend who wishes the less knowledgeable version of me still existed.

In an ideal world, the friends we make early on in life would understand that knowledge is a virtue. Everyone would grow and expand at comparable rates, but they would respect the different ways we all branch out. Sadly, that is not the case.

When faced with these situations, you will feel the need to “act the part.” You will feel the need to “go along to get along.” Don’t. It would be weird for frogs to revert back to tadpoles, fish to roe, or butterflies into caterpillars — so why would you ever try to be a version of yourself that no longer exists? If you put on a fraudulent face to make someone happy, then you are doing both yourself and the person who cannot let go of the past a disservice. Only by being true to yourself can you achieve what you were truly meant to achieve and live life without regrets.

Life is much too short for living lies — even little ones that seem well-intentioned. If you have friends in your life who seem to want you to be their personal Han Solo frozen in carbonite, then it is because on many levels they are mentally and spiritually paralyzed. The biggest favor you can do for them if they refuse to see that truth is to walk away.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

10 comments

  1. Ah, probably one of the more difficult part of the years going by. I think everyone changes at different rates in different ways; characteristics that made you friends in years XXXX thru YYYY may not exist for either of you anymore. I think this has been further exaggerated by how mobile our society is; I have three siblings and we all live in the four seperate continental US time zones….it’s nearly impossible to “grow” the same way as highschool friends when you aren’t interacting everyday and have different experiences in different areas.

    Fortunately, I have stayed “friendly” with most, even if our lives have taken us in different directions. While I look forward instead of dwelling back; I do treasure those times as they helped form who I am today. While early nineties Patrick is gone for good, it was the springboard to later stages of life’s journey; I do thank my old friends for taking that part of the journey with me.

  2. This is definitely one of your best blogs. I have experienced this all my life and have just had to move on, leaving
    them behind. So much like the Fathers in Friday Night Lights !

  3. I have a few close friends from the old days…I have a few years on you. Most of the friends I had now have new circles of friends that usually revolve around family as do I. Over the past few years we try to get together less than once a year and we usually chat about family and how things have changed. I cherish the times but still find they never compare to the time I spend with family.

    With that said if all things go well my wife and I should have a new member between now and early June.

    1. My son is a fan, but he likes the older stuff more than the current product. He loves Spider-man and his amazing friends but he tends to not like the new Spider-man cartoon.

  4. I know certain people in my life who have never moved past the person I USED to be (who was a lot more angrier and capable of saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune time) and won’t give me the time of day, which I regret, but at the same time, I realize all of that was down on me. I’ve matured and changed so much but it’s hard not having the opportunity sometimes to show those improvements to people who are these days out of reach.

    1. That is a very interesting take on this post, zariusii. What happens when a man who burned bridges in the past wants to reconnect with someone after he’s matured, but that other person refuses to allow him to begin the rebuilding process?

      While the decision to not allow someone who has hurt us back into our life is a rational one, I would still chalk it up as a failure of forgiveness. If a man is truly contrite, then I think we have a duty to forgive. A friendship that was scorched early on may never be the same … but I think at a minimum we owe a man forgiveness if his apology is sincere.

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