I just returned from a camping trip with my friends from Porteau Cove (star-chasing photos coming soon!). It is our 4th one together since our first camping trip after high school graduation. When I camp with my friends, it feels like time stops for us. Even though we are all a little older now and life is a bit different for each one of us, it doesn’t feel like we have changed too much when we are all together.
#FLEuro2016 was the longest I’ve been away from my friends since we became a squad, and although Europe – and travel, in general – is exciting and fun, I didn’t realize how much I needed to see a familiar face. Luckily, I got to meet up with one of my squad members in Berlin.
My friend, Jeremy, and I started university together, both of us studying business. We were actually in the same frosh group too, and we celebrated our convocation together back in June of this year. Jeremy also wanted to travel around Europe after university, but his Euro trip included many more cities (and money… you ballin’, Jeremy) than mine. So we planned our trips separately, but out of peer coincidence, our days in Berlin coincided.
Together, we visited the Berlin wall, cathedral, memorial to the murdered Jews, museums, and the Brandenburg Gate – all things I wanted to see in Berlin. Thinking back on it now, it seems utterly amazing to have done those things together. Why?
Because I remember Jeremy and I sitting in our Accounting 11 class, learning about assets and liabilities on balance sheets and getting picked up from school as if it was only a few weeks ago. Now we are both BBA graduates, balancing our student loans and credit card bills, somehow still finding the finances to travel across oceans and eat schnitzel together. I remember Jeremy – the guy who trips on thin air, and I remember me – the girl who struggles to open a bottled beverage, and it blows my mind to think we backpacked around Europe on our own – without our parents, without the rest of our squad.
When you don’t see someone for a very long time, you immediately notice how they have changed. Perhaps they lost weight, maybe they gained muscle, and maybe they’re in a relationship now and are glowing with happiness or have a new job that they actually like to talk about. But when you see someone very often, you don’t notice the little changes in them.
When you grow up together, you don’t necessarily notice how drastically their life changes, because you’d know about all the little changes and U-turns they make as they learn for themselves what they are passionate about in life. You don’t see that big jump from that “that quiet kid with glasses” to the guy who is brimming with self-confidence because you watch them build up that inner strength through healthy activities and healthy company.
Being in Berlin together made me see that Jeremy and I have grown up a lot from when we first met – all of my friends and I have. And instead of feeling bad about it (“Booooo… we are so old now!”), I find it to be a very wonderful thing. Growing up with someone is a blessing, and as we continue to step into adulthood and open our eyes, mind, and heart to more of what our world has to offer, we realize too what we can offer to the world.
Growing up doesn’t suck. Not if you’re growing up with the right people.
They soon stopped being ten years old. But whatever age they were seemed to be exactly the right age for having fun.
― Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill