From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

When It All Changes

The moment of change is the only poem.

Adrienne Rich

I am reminded of the song we used to sing in Girl Scouts: “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold.” I graduated from high school a year and a half ago, and post-graduation, the old seemed more like gold dust—it all just blew away. My friends and I went our separate ways and made different lives with people in our new worlds. I put away my old photos and shot new ones to go with my new furniture in my new apartment—in my new life. Once in a while I would call a friend at college or an ex back home and rehash the past. The conversation usually didn’t exceed ten minutes because we didn’t really know what to say to each other. Everything had changed.

I believe that in life we have chapters—phases, if you will. The many faces of youth are shocking. We change from day to day, hour to hour. We love and then stop. We have a best friend and then we have five. We love our parents and then hate them. We play soccer and then decide to take dance classes instead. Okay, so we’re fickle—fickle like the latest fashion trend. “In with the new, out with the old,” that’s our motto. This way we never get bored and it’s easier to move on after being hurt. The flip side is that there will be a point when we look back on the old and miss it, like we miss a pet that dies or a small house that isn’t big enough for a growing family. Moving away from something is exciting, but it all looks different in the rearview mirror. While visiting my parents during Thanksgiving, I awoke to the backward mirror image of my forward life.

I called several of my high-school friends and suggested that we go out for coffee to catch up. Everyone agreed, and so we met downtown at a familiar café. We all looked a bit different—older, taller, thicker. We sipped our coffee drinks and chatted, talking mostly about high school, boyfriends and finals. We laughed and hugged and remembered. For some reason; talking and remembering made me feel pretty bad, and when there was nothing left to talk about, I realized that we hadn’t really talked about anything. So much had happened in the last year with all of us that we couldn’t possibly know where to start. I went home that night feeling really alone and confused, and frustrated with myself for . . . for what? Changing, I guess.

It took me about an hour to realize how ridiculous that sounded. I was feeling guilty for changing? I was confused because we had all endured another year and mastered new experiences. My guilt was short-lived. Sure, everything has changed because we have changed and will continue to change forever. We all care a little less about who wore what to the MTV Awards and what the latest toy trend is. (What’s that scooter thing called again?) We have healed our hearts from the devastation of breaking up with our first loves. We are secure with the fact that no matter what happens, we will always have tomorrow. We have all changed in college, or in the University of Life. Some of us have jobs, and some of us have boyfriends. Next year, we will all have grown a little more, and then a little more the next year. We will have pain, and we will have joy. We will endure and we will accept, and then we’ll be back to share or just to smile with each other and know that everything will be all right.

Rebecca Woolf

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