Some of you will stand beside me as I say “I do.”. Some of you will be there as my children are born. Some of you will slowly fade out of my life and just become a fond memory and a humorous anecdote. It’s not because I want it to happen, it’s just because I life gets in the way sometimes. Then there are some of you I will never see again. All of you hold a place in my heart and have left something to add to my story.
You can’t take everyone with you, when all of this is over. I wish you could, but you can’t. Because never again will life be this easy, this pretty, this effortless. Your life will never be like those four years when your second family and support system lived down the hall or a short walk up the road. You’ll never again get your work done at 2am while sipping champagne out of the bottle because you accidentally wasted the day away watching SVU marathons. You’ll long for the feeling of comfort your people once brought you because just a few feet away in any direction there was the warm presence of a friend. You were never alone. You couldn’t have been, even if you tried (even if there were some times that’s all you wanted).
But soon they’ll all be taken away. Not in an angry, harrowing way, just in a this is life kind of way. You’re all going to be pulled down different paths. You’re all trying to learn to swim in the endless ocean that is adulthood, real adulthood, and this separation is part of it, like taxes. You’re not going to live in six-person houses anymore, where empty bottles of alcohol proudly lined your dirty counter tops, mismatched furniture happily decorated your family room and string lights were the best decorations along with posters and tapestries – it was your own little messy, hectic, chaotic, beautiful life.
Soon you’ll be residing in little studios or two-person apartments, trying to adjust to the loud smack of the quietness that hits you each time you walk in the door after work. Never before has silence seemed so horribly loud. You’ll work at meeting up for happy hours or Friday night dinners, or even long weekend visits if you’re separated by that many miles. And it will seem easy at first, fun even. You’ll feel grown up thanks to the steady paychecks and busy schedules and weekend traveling.
But, like it always does, life will get in the way. The visits will become more rare, the meet-ups more sporadic. You’ll find new friends, have new routines, new weekend hangouts in our respective cities. You’ll tag each other in Timehops that remind you of who you were together, after a few glasses of wine nostalgia kicks in and we dig deep in the Facebook archives. It’s a good getaway from the mundane reality that we all are currently living- that random time you went out on that random Wednesday night and didn’t know it at the time but it would be a defining moment in your lives- even 10 years after it happens. You’ll think of your people often when you see these little reminders, with a smile on your face and the inability to still do shots of tequila. Soon you’ll simply be counting on random get togethers in the city and weddings to force us to drop what you’re doing so that you can spend a weekend together.
Even if you do remain close, even if you fight to stay in touch and see each other on a regular basis, things are going to change. But that’s okay. Because you can’t stay here forever, in this little naive bubble, hidden from the very things you came to learn about. You’ll have to move on, you have to grow up, you have to learn to live out this friendship under new circumstances, because the only thing guaranteed in life is that things are always going to change.
What you will remember as you leave that little apartment bursting with memories is that it will hurt because of your people. It will hurt because someone brought you such joy, such laughter, and such pure happiness. They taughtyou things you don’t even know that you had to learn. They are part of the reason that you are a different person today than when you walked on this campus 18, petrified and exhilarated.
If you ever come back here, this place is not going to look the same. There will eventually be new buildings, new sidewalks, new restaurants. But most of all, there will be new people. A new energy that you don’t recognize. The place that you once called home will exist now only in our minds and on Facebook, in that piece of us that came to life the minute you stepped onto this campus. But in that way, your experience is immortal. It will always be immortal, because when it exists as a memory, a connection, an energy between you and your people, it is safe from upgrades, from construction, from weather damage, from other people, from anything that would ever try to change it.
So go on and change the world. Make your presence know is this crazy game of Life. But fight for those relationships you needed in those four amazing years. Try and see them, visit, vacation, call, write. Don’t just comment on pictures on Facebook, BE in those photos. Don’t forget birthdays and major life events, keep the memories going. Those late night drunken conversations, getting lost in the city, lounging around all day, trying new things- all of the memories made you the person you are today. Life isn’t a journey to be taken alone, you need your A team right behind you. So get going and make your mark on this world.