Someone once told me, “Growing up is sad.”
As I enter my final year of university and see some of my friends graduate, this statement seems to sum it up quite well. In many ways, university was a second chance at high school. I had another chance to be with my friends. Now, each of us are separating paths into different dreams and although that is not something to be upset about at all, it leaves me with an empty feeling in my heart.
I think that is the saddest part about growing up – you watch people slowly but surely walk away from the path you are taking.
The days you spend together dwindle. You go from eating in the school cafeteria everyday to meeting up for a dinner every few weeks. You go from laughing about trivial everyday moments to only sharing the big events in your life. You lose contact with people, you forget why you used to be close to someone, and you run out of things to talk about. You know you can call them up and talk to them if something happens, but you don’t make the call. Little by little, the distance settles.
I have always strongly believed that if you want someone to be in your life, you’ll find a way to put them there. I don’t buy into the whole “I’m too busy to meet up” excuse, whether that busyness stems from work, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or school. A dinner to catch up can be a two-hour commitment of your day, a run or workout session together could be an hour. If you are constantly too busy to meet up, maybe the root of it all is that you don’t want to meet up. That, by itself, is sad too.
But I also understand that as we grow up, it doesn’t make sense to see your friends everyday. I understand that sometimes you are simply too tired to go out. I understand that you can’t just hold onto the days when you and your friends just had each other and that was enough.
I know that we will continue to grow up. We will find other people we love and they will become more important to us than others. That’s how things should be, but there will still be a tiny part of me that will miss the simpler days when all we needed to be happy was each other.
I admit I have a fear of growing up. The thought of people leaving me scares me the most. I fear for the day my parents grow too old or the day my friends move to another country for good. These are the people who make my world and save me from all the dangers in it – including myself.
People tell me I am a happy person and that I am always just “so happy!” I disagree. I am more cold, bitter, and cynical than people see me as. It is the people close to me who make me a happy person. They give me so much happiness that it pours out of me as if it comes from somewhere within myself.
Even though I try my best to make myself happy by doing the things I love, it is still those surrounding me who give me the most happiness.
When someone’s been gone for a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit. That’s why you can’t save it all up like that.
Because by the time you finally see each other, you’re catching up on only the big things, because it’s too much bother to tell about the little things. But the little things are what make up life. (p. 294)
– Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before