Posts Tagged ‘what matters’

One afternoon this week, I spent a long while chatting online with two old friends. I’ve known Jon since fifth grade and Adam since seventh, which means we’ve known one another for more of our lives than we haven’t. Whenever I chat with Adam we inevitably begin reminiscing about high school, and the other day we were talking about sophomore year. His little sister, Grace, is now a sophomore (though in my head, she should still be about seven), and we both paused to reflect on, and be amazed by, the fact that our sophomore year was ten years ago.

Ten years seems like such a long time when you view it as a chunk – and for me, at age 26, it’s more than a third of my life. Ten years ago, I had just gotten my driver’s license; I was in high school marching band and loving it; I had long hair and bangs and a pink-painted bedroom; I had a crush on a senior baritone player but he hadn’t noticed me (yet). I had a brand-new letter jacket and drove a little indigo Kia Sephia; I spent my days going to English and chemistry and world history and algebra classes. I was anticipating going to London for the first time. And I’m sure I heard at least once from my mom and other adults, “This [situation or relationship or event] won’t matter to you in ten years.”

Now, I am married with two advanced degrees (and lots of foreign travel) under my belt. I have short hair and a writing career and a much more developed fashion sense. I don’t talk to a lot of my high school friends much any more, and I have vastly different views on life and faith and many things. However, I don’t believe that those old memories and relationships don’t matter. (Some of the smaller things, it’s true, have fallen by the wayside – and the arguments that once seemed capable of ending friendships have passed into oblivion.) But I firmly believe that the other stuff – the stuff that was important to begin with – still is.

What is that stuff? There’s a lot of it – perhaps too much to contain in a list. But it’s the drives in Adam’s white truck and Jon’s green Grand Am, and the hard-fought football games, and dancing with my flute friends while the drum line played cadences in the stands. It’s the nights of teetering in high heels at formal dances, partying the night away and snapping photos with my best friends. It’s the band trips and endless relationship drama and the Bible studies on Tuesday nights. It’s the birthday parties, the long talks at the coffee shop, the stupid things we did and the crazy things we said and the way my tightly knit posse of friends fiercely loved each other. It’s all the big exciting events, and the normal days in between, walking from class to class down the long color-coded halls of Midland High.

As we talked this week, Adam admitted, “I can’t ever tell Grace that this stuff won’t matter to her in ten years.” And I said. “You’re right. It still does matter. It matters a lot.”

When I talk to old friends and we reminisce; when I go home for Christmas and get to hug them; when I find old mementoes or photos or just randomly run into an old memory, I am reminded: it does matter. Those days and events and people helped make me who I am, and they are still part of me.

That said, the last 10 years have been the scariest, most exciting, most adventurous years of my life. I’m a long way at 26 from where – and who – I was at 16. (That’s as it should be.) But talking to old friends pulls me back to who I used to be. And it reminds me that it did – and does – all matter.

I am deeply thankful for the friends who have hung in there with me for the last decade or more, who know my past and present selves and love them both. Here’s to you guys. (And to those who are sticking with me on the journey now.)

Happy Love Thursday. Visit Karen’s blog for more images and stories of love – and a lovely meditation on the meaning of life.


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