Hello, hello, hello (meant to be read as Carry’s Count Olaf, but I promise I am not that creepy ;)). I honestly cannot decide what to write about, as the past few days I have been plagued with various idea and topics that I am dying to write about, and since trying to decide which one is the winner has been the battle that I have been fighting, the result has become that I just didn’t write anything at all. But, I decided at this moment to write about the more, lovely-dovey, has-a-lesson-within-it-somewhere topic rather than the drowning-college-student or suffering-writer topics that continually swim within the depths of my head.
But trust me, those other topics will be hitting this blog soon.
So, my birthday was a couple days ago. 22 — crazy, I know. Who knew getting so old would happen so fast? Definitely not this woman. At this moment in my life, I have been experiencing a lot of surprises, in this sense, in that I haven’t been mentality prepared for, at this moment in my life. For example, I always knew I would turn 21, but no one prepared me to be 22. Likewise, everyone always prepared me for college, but never for graduation after. But that’s not what this post is about (we’ll get to that, I promise).
No, what I want to talk about is the well wishes I found on my Facebook wall on my birthday. I do this odd thing in that I wait until the end of the day on my birthday, refusing to check any form of social media during the day, and then at the end of the day, I check it all. It just gives me a warm feeling to see so many people reaching out and wishing me blessings and happiness on my day of birth. And it is fun to spend an hour sitting there and replying to everyone. But this year, I noticed something different that I hadn’t truly noticed before: a lot of my messages said more than Happy Birthday. Most of them had some variation of this message:
“We should catch up soon.”
“It’s been a while.”
Of course I have heard these things before. But I was just surprised how many people told me that they missed me and wanted to catch up; not only that, but how many of my really *close* friends wrote that to me. Practically all my really close girlfriends from high school wished me well and hoped I was doing well, saying we should catch up over break or something. I couldn’t tell you how their semesters are going or how they are doing, unless I can reference their Facebook statuses or Instagram pictures. Practically all my friends from my freshman year, I hardly talk to anymore, even though I care about each of them, a lot. Even some residents from just last year were talking to me about catching up, because it had been ages. The theme that threads through all of these posts and past relationships was one that I wasn’t exactly pleased to see:
I haven’t been making time for my friends.
Granted, I am working two jobs (planning on adding a third), a full time student (senior in college), writing my undergraduate thesis while being on the executive board of three organizations, plus a member of two more. So it isn’t like free time and I are best friends or anything. And I have friends that I care about deeply now that I am able to hang out with regularly, so it isn’t like I have forsaken everyone. But there are a lot of people who meant a lot to me in the past and whom I would still claim mean the world to me now, but if you asked me how they were truly doing, I couldn’t tell you.
And that realization really bums me out.
Some of them go to different universities, so it is harder to stay in touch. But is sending a simple text asking after them so hard? Or a Facebook message? A video? Or how hard is it to ask someone for lunch, to catch up and see how they are doing? I know I am pretty swamped — and so is the rest of the world — but at the end of the day, is it worth it? Is it worth spending 30 hours a week on homework for a class you have an A in, when you could spent 23 and ask an old friend out for coffee? Is it worth it scheduling meetings every night of the week when you could reserve one night a week to make sure and call someone one, ask them how their day was?
Recently, I have made reading for fun a priority, because I was so sick and tired of not escaping, even if it was only for a little bit. And surprisingly, I have found time to read every day. Sometimes, it was only a couple minutes before falling asleep. On Monday, it was like, four hours. And I have loved it. And nothing else has suffered because of it. I have actually been a lot happier, now that I am reading a steady book or two a week.
I think reconnecting with friends can work just like that. Scheduling one lunch date or one Skype phone call a week is something that anyone can fit in their schedule, I think. You just have to realize all the little bits of time you have in your day. With the reading example, instead of messing with my phone, I read my book while waiting for the bus. It’s only 10 or 15 minute out of my day, but I now use it instead of wasting it. And there are so many little chunks of time within our days that we can do that; utilize so that when we decide to catch up with a friend for an hour or five, we don’t feel guilty about it afterwards. And we shouldn’t regret it to begin with. Because what are you going to remember; hell, what do you want to remember: the all-nighters you pulled studying or the countless memories you made with the people who love you?
So, my birthday was not only awesome and heart-warming, but it was a wake-up call. I graduate from college in less than a year, and then who knows how far away I am going to travel or where I am going to go from all these friends I have been so blessed with. And while I know realistically, there is no way I will be able to keep all of them, I don’t want to leave and be forced to say that I didn’t try; that I didn’t make an effort; that I used lack of time as an excuse. I don’t want those regrets.
I want the memories.