Looking through a giant bag of old pictures got me feelin’ a little sentimental.
Do you remember your first best friend? Can you count how many people you’ve called a “best friend” since then? My guess is quite a few.
When we’re little our friendships are formed so easily. If we both like the color pink or if you live across the street, that’s that. We’re best buds. We may ride the bus together and are both in the same homeroom class at school – even better! It doesn’t take a lot for little kids to become friends.
A couple years go by and we’re making friends not only at school but in our sports teams, churches and any other extra curricular things our parents enroll us in. We’re starting to develop our own sense of humor and personalities. We may start finding friends who look like us, laugh at the same movies we do, and like to do the same things as we do. My personal favorites were singing karaoke, making dances up to Britney Spears songs, painting nails, and jumping on the trampoline for an ungodly amount of time – we’re talkin’ hours people. Weirdly enough I had plenty of friends who enjoyed doing these things with me.
After elementary school we enter junior high. OH junior high… Possibly one of the most awkward time periods of your life. Your body is changing, your opinions are changing, you’re oddly aware of yourself like you’ve never been before, and you suddenly need to wash your face because what is this pimple and where did it come from. Oh no, do I need make-up? If it didn’t start in elementary school already, you’re probably also starting to notice your peers of the opposite gender. You may “fall in love” for the first time and in the same month get your heart ripped out and vow to never love again – if you’re dramatic, like me and some of my friends were. The people who go through these stages with you are so important. I still have a special place in my heart for the girls I went through junior high with. It was before texting got SUPER big, so I have a box full of notes that we would pass back and forth between classes in the halls. I know that I could text any of them out of the blue and we could still laugh at the stupid things we did back then. I can’t believe junior high was 10 years ago… Anyway.
High school is very similar to junior high. Only now you’re faced with bigger “problems” than who to eat lunch with. I went to a different high school than a lot of my junior high friends so it was really an experience of having to meet new people. Cliques were around in junior high but high school really starts the segregation of the groups. Honor students, party girls, cheerleaders, football guys, band geeks, good girls, drama kids, it really is a toned-down version of what they portray in teen movies. In high school you’re friends with the people you have class with who also look like you, laugh at the same things you do, like the same shows you do, and also like to eat at Taco Bell for lunch 3 days a week. You may be starting to work a part time job and now you can drive so you have friends at other schools nearby. You may have a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend and you’re convinced it’s going to last forever. How could it not?! You’re sooo perfect for each other. My friends in high school got me through a lot. I’m sure now we would look back and laugh at the things that we thought were a big deal and spent hours crying over. High school is great for friends because you see them 5 days a week AT LEAST. If you’re involved in anything outside of that like a youth group or sports team you see those people multiple times a week as well. It’s like clock work. Even if your friends are totally different people with different personalities, you have one common denominator – you’re all in high school. Probably taking the same classes, hearing the same drama, seeing the same people, so it’s easy to stay friends and stay connected.
I am still friends with a few people from my high school. Not BEST friends, but we stay in touch. After high school things change. We feel so grown up when we’re 18 but really we’re still just trying to figure it out. Some of us go to college, some of us have babies, some of us get married, some of us move away. As much as I never thought it would happen, I changed and so did some of the people I called best friends. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s hard to come to terms with. You care about these people but your priorities aren’t the same, your interests have changed, your goals may be different, and you may find that opinions you once shared have skewed as you’ve gotten older. This doesn’t mean that you consider them any less of a person, but “life” really does happen. I’ve had to let go of hard feelings towards people who hurt me and who I probably hurt too.
My closest friends now are not the same as they were two years ago, or even a year ago. I’m friends with people now who I may not have connected with in junior high or high school. We meet in college classes, through mutual friends, or maybe at work. My friendships are more “adult” than they used to be. If I bail last minute because I’m tired I don’t have to worry about an awkward grudge being held over my head for the next few weeks. We can go sit at bar and have a drink just the two of us and not feel like we’re “not having a good enough time.” We may not hang out at all for a couple weeks because we’re both swamped with homework, but you can text me on a random Tuesday and we’ll go to lunch before we both split for work. You wanna yoga early Saturday morning? Cool. You don’t wanna? Cool, let’s eat Mexican later though. (yes, my friendships are formed around food)
The people in my life now are there because they’re meant to be. As cliche as that sounds. My friends, classmates, coworkers, all of ’em, they keep me going. I’m sure I’ll make new friends in the years to come. We’ll start our careers together, we’ll have kids at the same time, we may go to the same workout classes. But reflecting on the past, I know I’ll carry the memories that I made and the lessons I learned with my former friends into my future. My life wouldn’t be the same without all the awesome people I’ve lived it with.
Here’s to my friends of the past, the present and the future.
That’s what’s in my jar.