To All My Friends

It’s not that I’m nervous about what’s to come, or that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, I do, it’s just that I also know exactly what I’m losing.

I’m really, really excited for college. Having visited Charlottesville many times already, I’ve already scoped out Corner Joe for my coffee and studying, sat in the booths in Clemons library where I’ll hopefully continue my writing, and eaten the fresh fruit at the dining halls that everyone seems to hate (an apple is an apple my dudes, try one).

But those are, for the most part, continuations. The old but better. That’s what I like, but what is also to come is complete change and discarding of the old, and I don’t really have a say in the matter. I don’t like that.

I’m in my room right now, but after August 24th my parents have condemned the area I’ve slept in since I was 4 to renovations. We will be replacing your furniture with grown up stuff, they said. Soon, much that was familiar will become unfamiliar.

And what of my friends? While I’m ecstatic to be joined by many of my friends this coming year at UVA, and have already forged many new friendships while becoming involved in the community, some of my closest friends won’t be joining me in Charlottesville. Looking back now I’ve just realized that I’ve given Ephraim the last ride we will share back to his house already without knowing it. Something has passed, has ended, and it stings.

While high school was by no means smooth sailing socially, I found great enjoyment in many of those study halls on the couch with my friends, and leaving when things finally feel steady seems so wrong.

There’s some characters that I fear I may never find again, and while I’ll be keeping in touch the best that I can, I know deep down that in the hustle and bustle of life those characters will grow distant. Hell, sometimes things got hard when they lived not even ten miles from me, so distances of 430 miles are incredibly daunting. Surely, some people are lifelong companions. But it’s not entirely up to me who those get to be, no matter how hard I try.

But I’ve come to accept that that’s okay. Someone wiser than me helped me see that in life some people are just there for that part of the ride. There will be new ones in the next part, and while they may not be the same, there’s some excitement in that.

Those important to me have impacted me more than they could ever know, and although I’m far from perfect, I’m still incredibly grateful for how much they’ve helped me grow as a person.

Those new to my life will hopefully help me grow in different ways that I didn’t know possible. I’m excited for that. But before that, there’s some people important to me that I want to say something to. Not goodbye, but thank you, because even if I won’t be seeing them every day I’ll be carrying a piece of them with me throughout my entire life.

Thank you Carl, for making me feel like I deserved to be in this world even when I thought I didn’t, and for always being the yang to my yin.

Thank you Drew, for pushing me to do better than I ever thought I could (this applies to so many things, it could be its own post).

Thank you Ronin, for making me appreciate what the human experience is all about, and for being a light during many dark moments.

Thank you Yousef, for inspiring me to do more.

Thank you Sophie, for helping me understand that sometimes great friends come out of unlikely places (in this case, the right side of the room).

Thank you Ephraim, for showing me absolutely what not to do in a pool.

If any of my past teachers stumble upon this, thank you all for working so hard (and dealing with me). A special thank you to the Letelliers for being excellent people on top of excellent educators.

Thank you to everyone else who have stuck by me along the way – even if you don’t have a place here please believe that you have a place in my heart (or by my side, if you’re going to UVA).

The first few weeks are not going to be easy, but it’s the next chapter of my life with new characters, and it’s time for that to be embraced.

Childhood Afternoons

Sitting alone in my room, I acted on a sudden urge to google How fast does college go by?

This was partially inspired by my disbelief at my completion of high school. Not that I thought I wasn’t capable of graduating or anything, I just can’t believe that it was over so quickly.

There were of course some points that it seemed to drag on. There were the nights spent punching my desk in frustration, still unable to graph piecewise functions despite the many crumpled pieces of paper that would mar my floor by the end of the night.

There were the days spent wondering if I was bipolar, with tears having stained my pillow the night before over a fucking inconsequential text message yet feeling ready to tackle the world the next morning.

Then there were the many, many moments where I’d stop and appreciate something small yet actually so large when you begin to muse. I’d be in the car driving to school and just think What the fuck? This thing MOVES itself. This two ton hunk of metal can take me ten miles away without breaking a sweat. That’s incredible. This is beautiful.

So there’s all these moments, the details, that make it seem like forever when I think about it. And yet I’m here. And yet it’s over. Freshman year feels so far away yet too close to have been a whole four years ago.

The google search yielded a quote that resonated:

I know that I’ll never have an afternoon as long as the ones in my childhood.

With the knowledge that every passing day feels shorter than the day prior, I began questioning what I should do with my most valuable resource.

One thing I immediately considered, of course, was productivity. Read more books, prepare for classes, get an internship.

But then also, I recalled the childhood afternoons. Afternoons of imagination and wonder. Although there wasn’t an ounce of productivity between my action figures and I, I was so content, so immersed.

Even if my afternoons seem to get shorter with each passing day, I hope to remember those afternoons with the same regard that I hold my childhood ones. I hope to get lost in the moment, which now means more about worldly exploration than action figures, but getting lost nonetheless.

What feels different about my childhood afternoons is that I was rarely waiting for the next big thing. There was no college looming around the corner, no essay deadlines or waiting for my friends to text me back. The only thing I waited for during those afternoons was dinner.

I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I want to put full focus on remaining in the moment. Less waiting for the next landmark, more appreciation of what’s here.

Maybe then my four years at college will truly feel like four years lived instead of four years gone by.