It’s incredible (and frankly a bit terrifying) to think of how nearly five years ago to the date, I was moving into my first-year college dorm. After the then recent passing of my grandmother, I was in desperate need of hope packaged in the form of new experiences. At 18, there wasn’t much I knew or understood about the world, but one thing I was certain I had figured out was my relationship with it and how I related to others. Undeniably influenced by the safe haven of a young Cory Matthews, there was no existing power on earth that could tell me that things would ever be any different from how they were. Naively invincible, I swore on my hometown that my family would forever be safe and happy, all the things I was sure I would never do, and that my friends would always be just that. It’s funny how the most consistent part of life is how often we are surprisingly wrong about it

Growing up with someone is a cherished privilege that we tend to take for granted. Sharing common interests you were sure no one else on the planet had and making memories you promised to someday share with your grandchildren is one of the most dear opportunities we have in this lifetime; an occurrence made even more special when that person happens to be a kid you met in line for the bathroom in kindergarten or the first person your eyes were drawn to in 6th grade drama class. These instances often catch us off guard; this person isn’t our family, we’re not obligated to love them or even like them, yet here they are, practically plucked from the friendship gods just for our benefit. It’s not long before you’re sharing far more than just a bed at sleepovers (where sleep is effortlessly replaced with ridiculous amounts of junk food, dance parties, and endless late night giggling). Suddenly, this person is no longer just a person, they’re your person, and you are undoubtedly theirs. 
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“Things change, and friends leave, and life doesn’t stop for anybody.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
It’s not entirely uncommon that the people we start with, we don’t end with. As priorities shift and life happens as it does, we blossom into new seasons of change. That's the thing about growing up: We don’t always grow in the same direction as those we love. Sometimes, there comes a day when you fail to find the humor in the inside jokes that once made others feel like abandoned outsiders; when the chains of the best friend necklaces you once pooled your allowances to buy from Claire’s break and turn green. Despite the intangible sadness in this truth, there is an irreplaceable, comforting nostalgia in a reserved corner of your heart that this person, your OG person, will always inhabit. Entering college I wasn’t really interested in making any new friends. Sure, I was unbelievably excited to meet a bunch of new people and officially begin the next chapter of my life, but back then the phrase “the friends you make in college will be the ones that last for the rest of your life, they’ll be the ones at your wedding”, sounded completely absurd to me. There was no doubt in my mind that I had everything figured out; that my friends were the best and most everlasting people I could ask for. They knew me, they understood me, they loved me, why would I ever go looking for something more? I truly believed there were no more lifelong friendships to be discovered. I had maxed out, I had reached my peak, I was content. I couldn’t have been more wrong. 
Photo: Giphy
My hypothetical future wedding party line-up looks significantly different than it did when I was planning my wedding to my 8th grade boyfriend. But that doesn't mean those lost along the way won’t receive an invitation. Those who I shared so many beautiful, joyous, painfully awkward years with will forever have a part of me I could never give to anyone else. You have to come to terms with the fact that it’s perfectly okay to grow apart from someone, no matter how long you've known them or how many pictures there are of the two of you covered in face paint, grinning from ear to ear, prominent gaps where your front teeth used to be. There’s no shame in moving on and making room for new people; we shed our skin as we grow into our best selves. And so do those we’ve drifted from over time

The greatest gift, however, lies within a lesson only that eternally beloved individual could teach you at such a young age: Soulmates aren’t always of the romantic variety; the longest, healthiest relationship you can have with another human being is that with the unsuspecting soul who took a chance on you all those years ago. Such bonds bend, but can never be broken.  
photo: Giphy

 

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