Our 10 year high school reunion is just around the corner this year. That, to both Bethany and I, makes us feel old. I know in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that old. 28 is still very young. But in the present world I live in, it’s a reality check. It’s a milestone in a way along the lines of graduating college, getting married, having babies. And it scares the crap out of me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships I’ve experienced. I keep thinking about the people I’ve connected to in my life that are still present and those who are not. When I think of those who have faded into the background, I over analyze and wonder if I did this or said that, would they still be in my life? The answer is usually no because there wasn’t anything specific that broke it apart. We just grew apart for whatever reason. Even with Facebook and all social media that connects us together, friendships still fall apart naturally and inevitably. I am thankful I can still keep in contact with those who I haven’t seen in years via the internet but at the same time, I’ve realized no matter what I say in my “Happy Birthday” post to them or “Congrats on the baby!” we won’t be friends like we were once. I can’t change that unless they are thrown back into my life somehow and even then, will it seem forced? Will it be the same?
I think about how many bridesmaids have come and gone in my life. This is the thought that really gets me hating on growing up. I can section off my life into who were my bridesmaids at the time. The girls from camp were front runners for a long time. I love them dearly and always expected them to be in my wedding party and me in theirs. We spent countless idealistic summers on Lake Champlain together, literally summers out of a postcard and grew extremely close. But now, three are married and I congratulated them on the good old Facebook. It’s no one’s fault, we all went to college and most of us grew apart living different lives in different cities but it breaks me heart to think about that in a way. That being an adult means losing these pieces of you, these people, along the journey, even if they meant the absolute world to you and you couldn’t imagine going through a big event like a wedding without them.
I think about my college friends that I thought would be forever and many of them are distant now. Again, with the bridesmaids, I had a few that were definite and now, I hardly speak to them unless it’s a ‘like’ here and there on Facebook. And most of them live here with me in NYC! We were together through our formidable years, building a trust and love that could continue outside the structure of school and into the real world. And yet, we grew apart as if it was going to happen no matter what we did. As if it has to happen.
I just don’t understand how this happens. I mean, I do. But I don’t like it. Growing up shouldn’t be losing the people who built you. The people who give you hope and love, who challenge you, who hurt you and forgive you, who anger you and frustrate you, who support you and celebrate you. How do we lose these people? It’s as if we close our eyes or turn away for one moment and then poof! they’re gone. We don’t even realize it sometimes until years later where we think “Huh, I wonder what ever happened to So and So?” Check Facebook, they probably are married and with a baby and going on awesome tropical vacations.
I have my NYC family that I’ve had for six years but there’s this fear that they too will disappear. Many already have. These are friends from jobs and shows I’ve done that I have fiercely held onto but they still slip through my fingers. I have bridesmaids chosen from this group and I know in my heart this will be the final pack but part of me worries that since there is still a lot of growing to do, they’ll vanish slowly into the path behind me instead of the one I’m walking forward on. I miss each and everyone that has faded from me and I always wonder how do I get them back? Can I get them back? If I beg them to have a cup of coffee with me, will things just fall back into the routine they once were? Or will it be clear we’ve grown apart and it’s the natural way of things and we have to let go in order to continue to build ourselves without their help now.
So now I am heavily reflecting on high school. I am blessed in the way that I was friends with a lot of people in high school, in my class and the younger and older classes. Through social media, I still talk to them and keep up with them and honestly, I can’t wait to see them. I have my close knit group that I’ve always been close with and visit with when I go home. But it is the rest of my class, I still adore even though they aren’t my close friends. I look forward to the awkward moments where you run out of things to say and end up talking about whatever you saw on Facebook. I really look forward to the genuine moments where the alcohol is flowing and we are relaxed and ourselves and reminiscing about EHS and target sports (this will probably be just me and Bethany for this topic). I even look forward to knowing that there will be a group of people who seem like they are the ultimate high school group. We all have one in our school. They are called “the popular crowd” though in my class, we all got along for the most part though cliques were evident. They will have the majority of the slideshow, the videos, and the focus. But I’m at a point where I am thrilled with my high school experience and I have no problem sitting back and watching them steal the show.
I just want to be there with people I grew up with. Most of which I have known since I was eight years old. Almost all of them have been living a different life than me with marriage, kids, a real job. Part of me is jealous that I don’t have that stability and that structure. But I like living in Neverland and I like having a different dream than any one in my class. I am so proud of every one of them and their life choices and I am proud that I made my own and have the support of those I’m close to from my class. I am lucky I’ve gotten to be at two of my beloved friends’ weddings. I’m even luckier that I am able to make plans with so many of my high school friends and see them in their lives and have them see me in mine.
High school is so hard for so many people. I always feel guilty when I say “Oh I loved high school!” and people glare at me and respond with disdain, “Really?” Growing up is hard for everyone. There is so much loss and so little gain at times where you wonder how you ever keep any friends at all. I think that maybe the people that stick with you are meant to. The others are placed in your life for a reason and when they serve their purpose, they continue onto another road. I’m sure I have been that for others as they have for me. It breaks my heart to think about the people I have loved so deeply that I never even speak to any more. People I shared deep secrets with or life altering moments. People I stood next to when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time or sat next to at my first Broadway show or lived with in a cabin when I was away from home for the first time on my own. But I remember all of them. All their faces and all their love, thoughts, words, jokes, everything. Growing up sucks and I don’t like doing it but I can’t avoid the loss. I can only be thankful for the fact that I get to see my high school friends and I am stoked about it.
I lucked out that I met my best friend when I was eight and we haven’t lost each other and never will. We’ve had our ebbs and flows in closeness but we’ve never faded away from each other entirely. At least there’s one bridesmaid that’s never changed.
Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up:
These are the best days of our lives.
The only thing that matters
is just following your heart
and eventually you’ll finally get it right
–Here (In This Diary), The Ataris