This may be a bit of an accidental therapeutic exercise on my end. And it's most definitely a cheesy love letter to my friends.
Something I've grappled with more than ever this year, especially in the last six months with extra time to ponder and re-evaluate... is what happened when I moved to Europe. It wasn't until almost two years abroad that I realised just how special the years before had been. And earlier, I learnt that – as a hard out sentimental – I hold onto stuff. Not a grudge holder at all, and not one for really even carrying old hurts or baggage with me into the future either.
Just fucking nostalgic for all the things. Good times, good people.
It's pretty classic I guess. I look back at the adventures, the people, the love, the growth, the feels, the learnings. I don't think I took it all for granted (some, yeah). But I left kind of unceremoniously. Shut the door on one phase, and after hurtling towards it, clumsily opened the shutters, and then the door, to another.
While I knew I'd miss people, miss home, I wasn't prepared to mourn them. And I certainly didn't expect to be mourning a part of myself that was, it turns out, created in and connected to that place, with those people, in that time. The phase of friendship. Reigning over all else. Dating, break ups, sleepovers in the same bed as your girlfriend because it feels better than having a whole room and bed to yourself. The phase after the coming-of-age years perhaps? You feel good, you feel free. You're young after all, you have your whole life ahead of you. High highs, yes. And really fucking lows too.
And fuck. Whether I'm there or not, it's never going to be the same again. This. I uttered this realisation some months ago to my psychologist with a lump in my throat and a very visible tremble in my lip. Sentimental gal, I am.
But really, it's fine. We're moving on, my friends and I. Getting engaged, getting hitched, buying houses, puppies, having kids. Making big, real-ass life decisions. The flow of things, of course. (Because it feels kinda natural now, doesn't it? Remember when you couldn't imagine a more enriching time than dancing all night with your girlfriends, enduring the blurry cab ride home and waking up the next morning to snort-laugh at the photos you can't quite believe are such a poor reflection of how the night had actually gone down?)
I guess I feel like I didn't get to say goodbye, is all. Why didn't I know that when I nonchalantly got on that plane two years ago towards an overseas stint, that everything was going to change?
I've had a bunch of moments since, too many maybe, where if you caught me, my face would be all screwed-up-like and misty-eyed in the midst of a throwback to one of those fucking golden sleepovers where we'd cackle ourselves to sleep. The kind of full heart you have only with the bummest of buddies, a friend for life, the ones that know you in a deeper way than any other.
Because you did life, understood life, on the same wavelength for a time. You were together, actually. Is there even a better kind of love than friendship?
And I've had a bunch more where I've felt guilty for leaving. Because you know, how could I leave my family, and well, what if I'd stayed? (An aside – this guilt...I'm honestly sick and tired of talking about it. To my loved ones. To my psychologist. And here too.)
Perhaps guilt's worst offence is that at times it has rendered me a little taciturn to my present surroundings. The ones I flipped my life for to experience. (But there's always hope that when the next phase comes, I'll suddenly see clearly what I had and just how shiny it was too).
So with this mourning afoot, another friend freshly engaged and about 56 more sharing daily chubby, baby cherub updates (which I adore, get all welled-up about), while I know I'm the one that "left", I think just maybe things were on the brink of change anyway.
And I think I caused no rift after all. If there's a rift at all.
And it's kind of like the more I mourn, the more the moments become warm, glowing bulbs of nostalgia, the more I accept my current situation, and allow myself to be here. Without the guilt.
Just the love left and the new versions of our lives, intertwining in different ways.
And with that...I have been wondering out loud to said friends, how do we navigate said phase? Our priorities, our surrounds, our selves have changed. And the 30's chapter is a pretty juicy one, I hear.