All of my friends from high school went to different colleges after we graduated. Every single one. We went from seeing each other everyday, or nearly everyday, to only seeing each other on breaks, if that. We used to know every detail of each others’ lives, and now I wouldn’t be able to say what they do for fun or who they hang out with. I can’t tell them something about my own life without giving backstory because it’s something they wouldn’t already know.
Freshman year, it was hard to be away from the people that I shared my whole life with. And then to go on and make new friends who could fill that void? I was skeptical. But even though I had to start over, I met new people who I shared my experiences with and vice versa. I still talk to my friends from high school, but I don’t need to hang out with them everyday. I made friends in college who took over the responsibility of listening to my gossip and giving me advice. And so did my high school friends. We found our own niches in our new places, but we didn’t replace each other. We just expanded our friend groups.
At first, I worried that I didn’t call my high school friends enough. I thought that maybe they would be mad at me for not keeping in touch more often. Perhaps they thought I didn’t want to call them anymore. Then I realized that they felt the same way. It’s hard to keep in contact with people on a regular basis who you don’t see that often anymore. If you want to do that, you have to make a real effort and we all get busy. Sometimes, we just can’t allot that time in our day for our old friends, and it sucks, but we all understand.
So when we finally do manage to have a long phone conversation, or better yet, see each other face-to-face, it gives us the greatest feeling. We can pick up right where we left off. It’s like we never had a long break since the last time we spoke. We catch up on all of the details of our lives and talk just like old times. Memories come flooding back, and soon you realize that you don’t want to have to miss them again. When we hang up the phone or drive back to our own universities, there’s that twinge of sadness that we don’t have the proximity that we used to. But then we delve back into our own lives and appreciate the new memories that we’ve made since splitting apart. And we don’t regret it, because if we never left each other, we would never have made the friends we currently have.
I’ve realized over the past three years that you don’t have to see someone constantly to remain friends with them. If the bond is strong enough, you can shape your own life separate from your friend’s life, but not necessarily without them. If you try, you will realize that being apart may have given you a stronger friendship than ever, because you know that you will always make time for each other at some point, no matter how far away you are.
I hope that the friends I made in college will mirror my high school friends. Eventually, we won’t be in the same place anymore, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be available for each other.