To My Friends Back Home, Things Have Changed

To My Friends Back Home, Things Have Changed

And you'll be glad they did.

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I am six hours away from everything I've ever known — maybe eight or nine depending on traffic. My family. My dog. My favorite Japanese food. My friends.

I used to know exactly who I was. I had everything figured out for the most part. I was so eager to get out of that little town in New Jersey, the days couldn't go by fast enough. I was ready for my life to begin.

I was never afraid of what the future would hold. I was excited. I was excited for new friends and new classes and new places to explore. I was excited for change. But I never anticipated how the changes in my environment would change me. I knew I would grow and learn, but I've realized that my heart and my state of mind have also changed.

I feel things differently. I think differently. I am different.

And so are you.

When you packed up your stuff and flew to California, I was worried we would never see each other again.

When you two decided to go to the same college, I was afraid I would be cut out of this friendship.

When you took a gap year, I was scared that you would find so much more than what I could give you.

The crazy thing is that now, we are closer than ever. We have new stories to tell, new ideas to share, memories to reflect on and plans to make. Maybe we have changed, but we changed together.

Now, I'm not so sure who I am, I have tons left to figure out, and I can't wait to get back to my little New Jersey town. Maybe it's different for you, but whatever's ahead of us, I am so excited for it.

I am so excited to hug you and laugh with you and stay up all night watching random things we find on the internet. I can't wait to go down the shore with you and stand in the ocean until the waves knock us off our feet. I can't wait to go to New York City with you and get Japanese-inspired Mexican food. I can't wait to have picnics in the park and just talk with you like we used to. You are my home, no matter where we find ourselves.

Things have changed, but we are better because of it. We love with more of our hearts. We stretch our smiles the widest they can go. We laugh despite the challenges we face.

Your friendship always reminds me of the good — that no matter how far it is stretched, love is the dominant force in the world. With time, high school foes will fade from our minds, but the people we love — the ones we really, truly love — stay there forever. No matter how far or how long, when this love is tested, it triumphs. And I think that is the greatest thing.

Here's to us. Who we were. Who we are. And who we will be.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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To My Best Friend Of 15 Years

You are my person.

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To my person,

I will never forget the first day that we met. It was the first day of preschool and my mom had just dropped me off. As I started to walk into the classroom I noticed that you were sitting alone on the floor crying. Not sure what to do, I went over to you and asked if you wanted to go play. Your face immediately lit up as we walked into the classroom and in that moment I knew that you would become my best friend. Ever since that day we've been attached by the hip and I wouldn't want it any other way.

April Roberson

Our friendship is the one true relationship that I can count on and for that I am forever grateful. This friendship of ours goes beyond our laughs and lake days. It's real. Through blood, sweat, and tears you've always been right by my side no matter what. You pick me up when I am drowning in pain. You cheer for me even when my ego is a little too high. You love me even when you should hate me. But, most importantly, you stand by me.

Our friendship is the perfect example of trust. You taught me that the right people can be trusted and will not betray you. No matter how dark the secret or how crazy the adventure, you never speak a word about me to anyone. You care about protecting my heart from the awful things in this world and when I am broken you are always there to pick up the pieces no matter how long it takes them to heal.

April Roberson

Our friendship has been a lifetime of happiness with a little bit of spunk. Not only do you encourage my crazy adventures, but you're always right by my side for each one. You keep life exciting and you make it easy. You are a true gift from God and I feel completely indebted to you for the role that you've played in my life. Our friendship is so special because it's full of our tremendous amounts of giving, sharing, and most importantly, love. There's not a day that goes by when I don't feel overwhelmingly thankful to have you by my side doing life with me.

So thank you, to my person. Thank you for always showing up for every little thing and making life so much better. Thank you for being my adventure inspiration and my lifelong travel buddy. Thank you for loving me unconditionally through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Lastly, thank you for being the one person that I can forever count on in this life time. I love you with my whole heart and I wouldn't want to do life with anyone else. You are my person.

Love,

Me

April Roberson

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