I wish someone had told me to hold onto all the people I once knew. I wish I had some way of knowing what I was throwing away, or at the very least letting fizzle out, watching with disinterest as my many fertile gardens of companionship withered in the hot sun of time. When you’re young, it’s hard to realize what you have. Everything just feels like it’s always been that way, that it will always be that way. Friends come and they go without much fear of social isolation. There will always be new peers, new classmates, new friends to take their place. Every school year is a new start, a new chance to build connections. After high school, there is always college to find your chosen family.
Six years after getting my Bachelors and only now am I beginning to realize the opportunities I squandered for all those years. I would always hear people saying that high school doesn’t matter. That you’ll leave those doors and all the people inside behind forever once you graduate. Not to worry about those relationships, because there will be plenty more that are more important in the future. Looking back, I wish instead they had said those years don’t have to matter. I realize now this was a message for people struggling in school, the social outcasts, the kids that felt like they’d never fit in or find friends. This message was a beacon of hope for them, a call to keep their courage as they moved out into new avenues of life. The point wasn’t that I shouldn’t invest effort in maintaining the relationships I did have. It wasn’t about devaluing the whole idea of childhood friends.
At the time, it seemed like a waste of energy, pathetic even, to try to cling to old friends that were no longer around you everyday. After all, there was a whole new pool of peers to meet and mingle with. Why reach out to people from the past? I never really gave much thought to the fact that the bonds I formed in college would one day become less convenient as well. What then? It was quite a shock when I started working full time to feel the difference between a classroom and a work place. Not only were there far less people to interact with in general, but those people were vary rarely of an age that I would consider my peers. We had very little in common. I already had trouble finding companions within my age group, let alone outside of it.
All these years later, I often find myself looking back on all the bridges I burned, wondering if there is any way I could salvage them, or if the other party has already forgotten me. I never understood how precious a childhood friendship truly is until it was too late. There is an empty space inside the new connections I make. There was something so special is the knowledge that the other person really knew you. They knew all of you. They had watched you grow up and you had known them just as intimately. That’s something you can never have with someone else, even if they tell you about who they used to be. You are still only seeing it through their eyes, only getting the bits they want to reveal. And something aches inside of me when I acknowledge that.
4 thoughts on “Childhood Friends”
I understand you so deeply here. I even to this day, will have dreams for example, of me being in high school which was almost the most social time in my life. Because of my severe social anxiety (piled on top of many other things) I mostly was an acquaintance to most people because I couldn’t get very close with hardly anybody. All that is piled on top of just not being able to fit in anywhere. Eventually it drew me into isolation with a long story short of abandoning all of my childhood friends that I ever did have essentially. (Which wasn’t very many)
I’ve learned during those time periods a harsh lesson that I will continue to carry forward into the future as I keep developing future connections. Which is, “Don’t sever the connections that don’t need to be severed.” Which of course, people will come and go in life naturally. Each context calls for a different situation. So if the context fits, why separate when it’s not necessary. We’re like pack animals, so that’s how I see things. We all need each other. And if we connect with somebody so deeply then we need to keep those connections as much as we can. I learned this after from getting fed up with running away from people. And watching others run away from me.
I find myself looking back to those past connections too and wishing things would’ve been different. I hope the future humanity learns from our mistakes and that we finally evolve past these issues. Thank you so much for sharing this! You’re beautiful! Don’t ever forget that. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
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I’m happy to hear someone can relate to this. I have always been picky about who I’m willing to invest my time and interest in. I assumed letting a lot of my past relationships with people fail wasn’t a big deal because I’d meet more people and eventually find “perfect” companions. But no relationship is perfect and I wish I hadn’t been so careless with the special few I let fade away. Still we can’t blame ourselves for not knowing better. Shifting perspectives is all part of getting older, and I’m still grateful for what I had then and what I still have now in terms of social interaction. I know it could be a lot worse. I hope you still have people in your life that you can bond deeply with and feel connected to. And either way you are always welcome to reach out to me if you need someone to talk to. Thanks for your comment. Always so appreciated. ❤
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Your very wise assessment here is very similar to my experience too. I love that gratitude and compassion that you’re expressing to yourself for what you didn’t know. And all of that gratitude for what once was, and what you have now today. That’s one of the most beautiful qualities that more of us desperately need in humanity.
I want you to know that it means so much to me for you to offer that to me. ❤️ Thankfully I’m doing better in that regard these days. I’ve learned to let new connections happen naturally, instead of forcing it or seeking it. I’m going with the flow and just letting life itself run the course. And I feel I’m in my element when I’m living this way. And I’m very grateful for it. And I know in my heart it continue to get better the more I go down this path.
I will always remember that I’m welcome to reach out to you and talk if I need it. You’re very kind. That’s very beautiful to me. I shall extend that same invitation to you if you ever need it as well. Thank you so much! And you’re very welcome! I hope to keep commenting more. You’re so gifted at your craft. Keep sharing it with us. ❤️
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Genuinely happy to hear you’re doing well. I hope things keep getting better and better for you. I’ll definitely reach out to you in the future if I need a sympathetic ear. Thanks again. ❤ (:
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