The 23rd of December was my last day school in the United States for the next three months. On top of the normally impending new year nostalgia, I knew this would be the last time I saw all of my friends for the next three months. Everyone around me has been incredibly kind and have done their best to assure me, "It's only three months, you'll be back!" Yet, yesterday was not nearly as simple as all of that.
I have been living in Upstate New York for the past 13 months. It took a while to adjust to the new city as well as acclimate to the climate, culture, and of course - because this is every teenager's fear - the new social situation. To be perfectly honest, I didn't have anyone I would have considered a friend until the 2015 school year started. Sure, there were people I could talk to and eat lunch with, but I hadn't truly felt I belonged in this strange new place until not even four months ago.
Since the 8th of September, when the new school year began, I have made so many new friends and deepened relationships with others I had gotten to know the previous year. For the first time in a year, I felt truly accepted and like I belonged in this city I now call home. With recent friendships in mind, there came this extra layer of impending fear.
What if everyone forgot about me?
Obviously, I'm not begging for attention or a farewell parade to send me off to Oxford, but as any adolescent is bound to feel, I was and still am sincerely worried about what will happen when I return. These new relationships I have forged are still brand new and in their beginning stages, so will my absence cause everything that's been built up thus far to crumble?
I still can't answer those questions.
The adults in my life have given me a lot of unsolicited advice on the matter. "You'll learn who your true friends are in the process," being the most common. One of these adults whose opinion I do trust and value counteracted that [let's call her Mary] by saying she didn't think it was true, that people are going to change regardless and so will I. Maybe I won't want or see my previous relationships with people as fulfilling as they had been when I left due to new insight and experience. Everyone will keep on going with their lives and maybe I won't fit back into the routine / mold I had set up for myself when I left.
While what she presented to me was a terrifying reality, it was also somewhat of a relief because it reminded me that while no one else is going to have their life on pause... neither am I. I am going to be living on another freaking CONTINENT for the next three months, experiencing what I have probably never even fathomed before in terms of a way of life and interacting with people so unlike who I have met thus far.
This entire situation has been weighing on me since I discovered that I was temporarily moving to England and in all honesty, is the only thing that has been holding me back in terms of full force excitement and anticipation towards my "new life." However, there has been another color added to the canvas of the situation. Yesterday, when I left my high school, two of my friends said something to me.
I interpret their words as, don't change who you have been to us for the past four months, not as an actual, "Don't you dare change a single thing about who you are while you are gone." Thinking about what Mary said, I knew that I am going to change. With that in mind, maybe my friends are also scared that the really weird loud writer who says random things at completely inappropriate moments is going to stop being herself.
I look back at the person I was when the school year began or even last month and I know so much has changed from even then and these friends have accepted and loved me regardless. High school is the most tumultuous, ever - changing place there is on the planet in terms of a social hierarchy and I now know it's going to happen.
Four months ago, I never would have imagined meeting my best friend in Spanish class - striking up a conversation with a girl in Homeroom and learning we both share a hatred of common core - taking a chance on the guy who sits in front of me in Creative Writing and him becoming my best guy friend - talking to the redheaded musical prodigy in Gym and I am now being invited to her family's Christmas Eve party (which I should probably be getting ready for soon) - finding a good friend with the guy in Global who I was paired up with for an essay.
You never know what you're looking for in life - whether it be people or things - until what you're looking for finds you and it turns out to be exactly what you always wanted. Of course, what you want is always changing as your priorities do and as your character develops, but that's the beauty of life because there are so many people out there who can be that person for you, that friend you never imagined having to laugh and cry and organize your bookshelves with.
In the end, change is the only constant variable of life and I honestly haven't a clue as to how my life is going to be or who will stare back at me when I look in the mirror on the 3rd of April when I return to American school in 2016. So just keep in mind that you are going to change, but the people who are meant to be in your life will change along with you.