My four high school years were some of the best of my life thus far. Successful in academics, athletics, friendships, and never without a date to a school dance, it was a wonderful time. That is, until that rejoiceful day when I donned my cap and gown and then realized for the first time that I was going to uproot myself for the foreseeable future from so many that I loved and cared about.
In “understanding” that we were meant to grow up and forge new friendships after high school, my hometown graduating class of ’09 adopted a philosophy that it was bad or immature to hold on to those dear friendships from that time. To this day, I still hear “so and so went to college and still hangs out with only people from our hometown, which is totally their choice, but just not for me”.
There were some who looked that stigma dead in the eye and said “screw it”, finding that they had more in common with those that they had met walking into kindergarten almost two decades ago than someone they recently crossed paths with on campus. There were some that had such abundantly welcoming personalities that they discovered a new set of lifelong friends within weeks.
And then it seemed, there was me. Despite my ease of finding friends throughout my youth and adolescent years, it became incredibly difficult for me to find commonalities with others in college. Friends drifted in and out of my life like an ocean tide, and alongside these newer, younger friendships, I lost friends that I had known for years, simply because we grew apart.
Yet, despite the sob story that this seems to be coming across as, there is a silver lining. I have found that throughout the years, those that were my best of friends (*cough* Annie *cough*) have remained figuratively and literally by my side through the ups and downs. And equally as importantly, I have decided that I finally feel ready to let go and move on from all those other high school friendships and novelties (insert sigh of relief).
You see, for years, I have unhealthily been looking back and longing for those days when I felt on top of the world. As a result, I was missing out on making friends from this period in my life. And while I can’t go back to kindergarten and make new lifelong friends, I can develop relationships at this point that will better suit me and last for years to come. It’s time I start remembering high school in a healthy way; in a way that lets me move on.
Scoring the winning goal at a soccer game with my teammates – who felt more like sisters – is a thing of the past. So are the weekends with nothing to do but two hours of homework and a whole lot of socializing…
And they’ve been replaced by something beautiful. They’ve been replaced by sleeping in until 8 on Saturday (oh God, did I just say that?!), and for the first time in years smelling coffee brewing in my house – reminding me of the presence of my boyfriend. They’ve been replaced by family, and the hope of children in years to come. And by coworkers and the familiarity of a friend going through the same struggles in life, at the same time.
Most importantly though, that feeling of longing to return to those glory days of Most Improved sports trophies and Art Show awards has turned into a feeling of embracing the present and those beautiful souls that are a part of my everyday life right now – regardless of whether they’re from my hometown or not.