“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”

Leaving has never been that difficult for me. Despite the fact that I relish telling people how I feel about them, I don’t like goodbyes. I don’t like the awkward presence of all of the things left unsaid. I like to keep face to face goodbyes short and simple–often with the rationale that I will see this person again at some point in time, so it need not be drawn out–and save my longer goodbyes for letters. This may be taking the easy way out, but I prefer to articulate my feelings in writing. That way I can control every word and make sure everything I want to say gets said. Some may say this is me hiding from the realities of uncomfortable life situations, while some consider the immortalizing of vulnerable emotions to be even more intimate.

Graduating high school was not difficult for me. Maybe it was because I transferred schools my junior year and had thus already functionally said goodbye to my friends I had known since I was 6. I was already used to not seeing them every day. As for the wonderful friends that I had made at my new school, I would of course miss them. But high school graduation is very different from college graduation in that everyone is going off to new places, but will all come back to the same home. So high school goodbyes were never actual goodbyes. They were ‘I’ll miss you until Christmas’ or ‘see you this summer’.

I couldn’t have picked a better college for myself. Carleton changed me in many ways, but I truly believe that it enhanced the good qualities I already possessed and made me a better version of myself instead of someone new. But it also challenged me in ways I didn’t expect and I wasn’t always happy there. I thought that by the end of this year I would be ready to leave. Four years is enough time to do everything I wanted to do and I’ve discovered that I have a hard time sitting still. I get bored easily and need new adventures. It didn’t hit me until June 1st. I vividly remember sitting on the ground with my friends and saying something about it being the end of May. One of my friends politely interjected and told me that it was June 1st. My mind was blown. How could it be June? I graduate in June of 2013. This is a month I have been anticipating/dreading/ominously aware of for four years and there was no way it could be here already.

I kept it together for the last week, probably due to the constant buzz of energy and love my friends exuded. No one wanted to be alone, even for a moment, because we all knew that these last days were precious. I cried for the first time on the last night as I watched my friends dance around our living room, covered in face paint (what had become a fashion staple in our house). I cried the next day after the ceremony when all of my boxes were packed away in my parent’s car and it was time to drive away. Even though I had had four years with these people, its incredible how much you long for one more day, one more hour. Just to put off the reality of having to say goodbye.

My friends will soon be dispersed all over the globe. I will see some of them very soon (next week, actually, when we roadtrip up the California coast), but others I may not see for a very long time. We will talk, we will write, we will reminisce over pictures and memories. And we will see each other again because we are a part of eachothers’ lives now. In a way, it was almost sadder to say goodbye to the people who I just met, the people who could have been great friends. Those people may never know how they’ve touched me and I may never know how I have touched them. I try not to have regrets, but it is impossible not to wonder what could have been. I guess all I can do is be thankful for what did happen, trust that everything happens for a reason, and look forward to the things to come.

First, this little one graduated. Nothing has made me feel older than watching my baby sister graduate high school. And I’m so glad we could share this milestone together. Class of 2013!

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Lovely candid of lovely friends.

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Neighbors on our freshman floor, housemates senior year. We’ve come full circle.

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It’s starting…

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I did it! And my hat didn’t fall off.

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We are wizards.

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Best friends since day 1.

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At the family lake cabin the next day. Three graduates in a row: high school, preschool, college.

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Serendipitous reunion on the flight back to LA. Carleton, you will always be with me.

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The world is truly rich with possibility. I cannot wait to see what amazing things my classmates do. Hopefully I will contribute something to that list. But saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I have ever done. So to the boys who are my brothers and the girls who are my sisters, to the strangers I wish were friends, to the memories we’ve made and the reunions we’ll have. Here’s to us, 2013.

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