I’ve had the same core group of friends for almost all my life. From sharing snacks in kindergarten to taking pictures together before senior prom, we’ve been pretty much inseparable. Some I’ve known since I was five, others are newer additions to the group that we’ve welcomed with open arms. Sure, we’ve made other friends, drifted away and back together again a few times over the years, but they’ve always been the people that I know I could depend on, the people who would always be there.
But soon, they won’t be. The twelve of us are scattering to nine different colleges. Some of my friends are staying in-state, others of us are starting new lives in other states, even other countries. I won’t be packing my bags until nearly September, but we’ve already lost a few members of the group as they’ve moved away from our hometown to pursue their new endeavors. Saying goodbye has never been a strength of mine; I tend to want to cling to the people who are important to me, and I can’t think of a group more influential on my life than this group of friends.
As graduation approached this past spring, I was excited, but more often than not I felt panic creeping up in my chest when I thought about how many things would be changing. More than anything, I was grappling with the idea of losing the people I knew and fiercely loved. Who would I be without the people I grew up with? How was I supposed to let go?
A few months later, I think I’ve found an answer easier than I expected: maybe I won’t have to. I’ve come to accept the fact that things will be changing for all of us, but I was wrong to think I could lose these people. I won’t be seeing them every day, but I’m already looking forward to hearing stories about their college successes when we all come home for Christmas. We can keep up through Twitter posts and ugly Snapchats just like we do now. I know we won’t talk as often but in the end, I’ll always be there for the people who’ve never let me down.
Things will be different this fall. It’ll be hard to get used to a life where I can’t invite myself over to play Cooking Mama and talk until 5 a.m. When I grab dinner with a friend, it’ll be with someone who only knows the me of today, not somebody who remembers the little girl who loved Powerpuff Girls or the awkward preteen stuck in her scene phase. We’re all starting over. I used to be afraid of it, but now I welcome it. I can’t wait for all the new experiences I’ll get to have, and I’m equally excited to watch some of the most amazing people I know grow and flourish.
Instead of mourning the loss of these incredible people, I try to focus on being grateful for this amazing last summer we've had together. I already know I’ll look back on it, and the rest of the memories we’ve made together over the years, with fondness and nostalgia. I don't know how things will play out once we're all thousands of miles away from each other, and things probably won't ever be the same as they are now. But no matter what happens when we’re apart, these people will always have a special place in my heart.
Lead Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons