It’s amazing how some things evolve but never truly change.
During my lower school years, every February we had an annual cross country run and as someone who doesn’t like running voluntarily, this forced run was not my idea of fun. However, every year the day would roll around where we piled onto the bus and headed off to Stockhill woods and its ‘lovely’ uneven paths. As you can probably tell, this was not my favourite place in the world.
And yet, on Saturday I spent a lovely morning (in the torrential rain) walking around those woods. People make such a difference to how you perceive things, and the people I went for a walk for are people who I haven’t seen in such a long time.
They’re some of my best friends and, with life being such as it is, we don’t spend a huge amount of time together. These are people who have seen, and dealt with, my worst and deserve my best (to paraphrase Marilyn Monroe) and who remind me that I have grown up and improved in many ways.
Whenever I feel stuck on something, be it how to deal with an issue or what to wear for a certain occasion, I find myself imagining conversations with these people. I may not have seen some of them for more than six months, I may not even have spoken to them in that time, but I do know what they would say about pairing this skirt with that top. They are the people that I spent so much time relying on during my formative years that they have become part of me. I cannot imagine doing something important without consulting them (even if the consulting happens in my mind).
However, whilst I know that they’re opinions on outfits is unlikely to change, it is harder to have imaginary conversations with them about the next steps I am looking to take in life. What would they say about me quitting my job? How would they react to my dropping everything and going travelling? These are all hypothetical questions, but trying to work out what the people you trust most in the world would answer these questions with is somewhat exhausting.
Most of my school friends have moved to London, and have managed to get themselves fantastic jobs that are interesting and let them stretch their potential. Growing up, I knew that having straight A* friends was never going to make me look the best. But that is not to say I resent their success. On the contrary, whenever I get told about a promotion or a new project that they have been put on, I practically jump for joy. When you love someone that much, and I do love these people, you can only be happy for them.
What has happened is that they have changed, and change is good. Change is essential. And there have been times where I feel that they have changed so much that I am no longer relevant to their lives.
But that is doing them a disservice.
This is something I realised this Easter weekend: whilst my friends have changed their locations, their jobs,and their lives, they are still, and always have been, my friends.
The people who I can start a conversation with after six months of silence and not feel guilty about the silence. The people who I have never once felt the need to explain anything to. We may not see each other every day but we have each other and shared experiences.
Even if now we’re complaining about the property market rather than the homework we’ve been set.