When i was seventeen, i thought i had the world all figured out.

I had all the best friends a girl could have in high school. I had the coolest teachers, who would some day become my mentors/friends. I was always invited to the “cool” parties that kids, who were far older than i was, would have. Even now as an “adult”, i still go to parties and people make comments how one of the cool girls from high school was at their house. My friends were what i would look forward to most when i would go to school. Walking down the hallway, i was always expecting a giant hug or someone handing me note. As life went on and high school ended, so did our friendships. When i got to college, it wasn’t much different. Life had placed people in my life and i felt lucky but sad at the same time. Friends moved away and we lost touch. It happens right?

The friend i would convince every day to skip first period to get breakfast with me, hasn’t spoken to me since graduation day.

The friend i would confide in when his best friend was being a total jerk to me, shops at my store and walks pass me as if i didn’t exist.

The friend i rescued at 2 am because her boyfriend was being nuts, hasn’t spoken to me in years.

The friend i had imagined to be one of my bridesmaids, decided she would chose a guy over our friendship.

The friend who i thought i would grow old with, didn’t exist anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, i fully understand that the friends we have when we are younger won’t always be there for adulthood. Some even say that they are placed into our lives during that time to help ourselves grow. To become the people we were destined to be. Too often I think of these people though and wonder what they are up to. I wonder if they ever got that dream job they always wanted and talked about after too many four lokos. I wonder if they are married now, or even have kids, even though they said they never would before thirty. I wonder if they found the love i always knew they deserved. I wonder if they are happy.  I wonder if they ever think of me.

A few months back, i was going through some life changes and i felt i was to blame for losing all those friendships. A time when i needed a friend, and those people were nowhere to be found. I thought maybe i was a bad friend and that’s why they didn’t seem to care. I thought maybe i was too wrapped up in my relationship to see that those friends mattered just as much as my boyfriend did. When i would try and reach out to them, they always had plans. I felt i was left behind. One day I decided I would try and get in touch with a friend, whom after a passing of someone dear to us, i hadn’t spoken to since. They responded back to me after I had written them and i realized that some people just need time. Time away from the people you grew up with, so you can grow on your own. I was so happy that they had written back, because their friendship was one of my favorites. It hurt my heart a little to know we had lost touch the last four years. They never got to meet the person who reminded me how to love. I never got to hear about their trips and new relationships. I watched their life through pictures and heard stories about them through our mutual friends. Although we have not seen each other, only spoken through texts/emails, it felt nice that no matter how much time passes, friendships will always be there. Your heart doesn’t forget people like that.

If you would’ve asked me at seventeen if i would still be friends with those people, i would have thought you were crazy for even asking. Now at twenty-three, i realize that some friendships aren’t meant to last. I do believe they are meant to be cherished though. i’ll never forget every crazy party i went to and had to take care of that friend who drank a little too much. I’ll never forget the girlfriends who would ride around in my jeep with me, jamming to whatever cool Wiz Kahlifa song came out, without a destination. I’ll never forget the boy who was my best friend, then stole my heart. I’ll never forget the nights where i would spend countless hours at a friends house just talking about life. Who knew a place we called “the cave” could hold such memories. We would all talk about the future like we had a fucking clue what was in store. None of us did, at all. I guess that’s part of growing up though. When you’re seventeen, you think you have the world at your fingertips. Your only job is make sure you get good grades and party with your best friends.

To these friends that were left behind, i say this to you: I hope you know you will always have a friend in me. Whether it was when we were friends in high school or after that, i am here. Being friends with some of you on social media helps me feel like I’m in the loop with your lives. I love the days when i sign on to whatever site i click first and seeing a friend get a new promotion. I love seeing the girl i thought in high school was going to stay with that loser guy forever, travel and see the world on her own. I love seeing all my friends have babies and start families. I love watching all of you grow. Although I’m sitting on the sideline, i am constantly cheering for you, all of you. If you haven’t heard it lately, I’m proud of the person you became. I’m proud of you.

I hope if you are reading this and we have not spoken in a few years, know you will always have a place in my heart. We aren’t the same people we were back then, but I’m sure you have the same heart, same love. The memories we share get me through some of the darkest days, and for that i am forever grateful.

“When I think about you
I think about 17
I think about my old Jeep
I think about the stars in the sky
Funny how a melody sounds like a memory
Like a soundtrack to a July Saturday night
Springsteen

-Springsteen // Eric Church

Photo: Senior Prom. Saint Cloud, Florida. April, 2011.