During the transition from primary school to secondary school, I clung hard to the idea – to the hope – that my group of friends would stay intact, that we would be a family forever (corny words for corny thoughts at a corny period of time). Being an insecure pre-teen, I left the security that I should have given myself in the hands of the social situation I was in at the time, trusting that it would remain a stable factor as I made my way into secondary school and the new experiences it would bring. I had grand expectations of the lasting bonds our friendships would become: teenage years together, adulthood together.
Of course, reality being what it is (thank God), things didn’t turn out that way. As the different people, schedules, and schools acted as the building bricks to the silence in our conversations and the gaps in our meetings, we drifted apart as naturally as the leaves fall from branches in autumn when the winter frost sets in. We found new friends, and for me, I found new ways to feel like I belonged.
Secondary school landed me with the widest and largest number of circles yet. Throughout the five years in secondary school, the circles only grew in size and number and by the end of my last year, it was difficult to renew the sense of being outcast, a role I had experienced playing (in my own head, in hindsight) numerous times during those formative years (as any pretentious emo teen would). Friends came and went, and I learned to tell the difference between those who meant to stick to their promises and those who didn’t; between those who were good for you as a person, and those who were too busy talking up castles in the air to improve you.
More sure of who I was, the idea of yet another change became more palatable as graduation from the government school system rolled around. I was “experienced” now, after all. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but feel a little doomed as the chapter on secondary school closed. In my head, sitcom-like montages were playing on repeat, the familiar feeling of wanting to cling onto something, to feel like I was finally a part of something meaningful, returning. Could I be certain? Of course not. Did I want to be? Of course.
“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”
It surprises me now who I still talk to, who still talks to me, who I still wish to talk to, and whose conversations are long overdue. I think the biggest lie about friendships is that those who have been with you the longest, are also those who you will want to stay. I’m proud to boast of the old friends I have today (most of them friendships reaching their 8th or 12th anniversary), but I’m also glad of the friendships I have left to shine in the memory of the past rather than wither in the dissonance between us in the present.
The thought of letting go is hard, but when you realise that you are only holding on to ideals and fears rather than something real, you can loosen your grip and smile at the fleeting thoughts that come by every once in a while.