Thinking back to high school graduation, it’s shocking how different everything was. As much as we all promised, and genuinely believed that things wouldn’t change, they have. A lot. Standing on our football field in caps and gowns a year and a half ago in late June hearing the names of our childhood best friends called one after another, it was hard to imagine that we’d probably never all be in the same place at once ever again. I couldn’t picture a world where I didn’t see their faces everyday or laugh at the inside jokes shouted through the halls everyday between classes. Everything we knew was about to end but we still held on to the hopes and promises that when we returned home it would all be normal again. We were wrong.
There will always be those people that no matter how far of how long, you can always pick up where you left off. Hopefully you’ll find that some of, or maybe even a lot of, your “home friends” are like this. Every break, vacation, or long weekend is a chance to catch up and fill each other in on all the news. For these relationships, distance can even strengthen your bond because it makes you appreciate one another to a whole new level. These friends are home; they’re the keepers and you should never forget how special, and rare, they are.
It’s not the case for all people. If someone had shown me who I’d lose touch with after a year away on graduation day, I wouldn’t have believed it. I don’t think I realized just how much people grow when they leave for school. Small towns keep people together, you’re constantly bound to bump into classmates, teammates, and acquaintances when there’s only a square mile of houses, stores, and restaurants. Once you leave, it’s a different story. Learning new things, living alone, meeting new people, traveling, working, and taking on new responsibilities changes you whether or not you’re aware. Losing touch is inevitable in a lot cases. It doesn’t mean you don’t love some of your “older” friends, it simply means at the moment you’re in different places (literally and/ or figuratively).
This idea took me a long time to accept. I’ve always hated goodbyes and big changes so it was difficult to internalize the concept that some of the people I had once been closest to were no longer “always there”. My ideal world last year was one in which all the people I cared about- family, home friends, and college friends, could all be with me in one place. Clearly my freshman self didn’t get it. Now I think I’ve come to a better understanding, different people will come in and out of your life at different times and the ones who want to be there will be.
Things won’t ever be exactly the same and that’s ok now. Goodbyes don’t have to be forever, reunions may be around the corner, and periods of silence don’t mean a friendship is over. If it is over, taking a step back to realize the good that came from it is reassuring. It’s hard to come to terms with the idea of letting people go sometimes but it is a necessary part of growth. Holding onto the past doesn’t do anyone any good; learning from it is a way better use of time.
So, here’s to the ones that have come, gone, and stayed. Thanks for being a part of my story.