By NATALIE SACKET
Moving through the stages of life can be complicated.
I had the same best friend for all of elementary school. In what felt like a tragedy to my sixth grade self, she moved away.
Now, nearly a decade later, I find that I think of this girl maybe once every few months. I’ve immortalized her in my memory. Anytime I think of her, I picture the tomboy with blonde, braided pigtails and a toothless grin.
Middle school brought plenty of acne and awkward. It brought lunches eaten alone, in the corner of the cafeteria. It brought high reading scores and low social interactions. I believe there’s no crueler world to a thirteen year old than that of a middle school girl’s locker room.
High school came, and I became friends with an unlikely person. I was the school nerd; she was a cheerleader. And yet, we spent four years as the closest of friends. Laughing with one another, confiding in one another, surviving high school with one another.
Now, she and I speak on rare occasion. It’s not that there was ever a falling out or a conflict. We attended different universities. What had once been daily hangouts, now were daily texts, then weekly, then once a month. Before there was time to realize what happened, our friendship became cemented in the past, untouchable.
Now, weeks away from graduation, I question what people have defined my life at Northwestern. I wonder whom I might keep in contact with, and whom I’ll only hear from once a year. I think about this closing chapter in my life, and I reflect on how fortunate I am for my three years at this university.
Stages of life are important. Sometimes it hurts to grow out of the past, but it’s important to keep growing.
You may be best friends with someone for six years; three years later, you only talk to them once a year. And I’m learning that’s okay. It’s incredibly important to treasure those moments of life, learn from them, grow from them.
But it’s also important to know when it’s time to move on to the next stage of life. I’ll forever be grateful for those who have been a part of my life. Often, I feel guilty, like I haven’t maintained connections in the way I ought to have. But I’ve come to realize that people come into your life, and you come into theirs at exactly the right moment.
You also leave at the right moment as well. Appreciate those people and the moments you’ve shared, but also appreciate the fact that you both have grown and changed, because that is what life requires.
Visiting my hometown, for me, always feels like trying on a dress too tight, a previously shed-off skin. My bones have grown. It’s comfortable at first, but begins to pinch at my ribcage.
It’s good to appreciate the past, but it’s also good to continue to move forward, keep growing.