What do I do when things are not the same?
Like when my favorite little sushi bar no longer serves sushi.
When taking my favorite street home is now out of the way and I can no longer drive down the Boulevard, I have to take the Road.
Like when the grocery store down the street moves the bread to where the milk used to be and the cereal is now in aisle twelve, not aisle three.
Or even when I come home, the furniture is rearranged and the T.V has switched corners.
And when television cartoons these days have the most random story lines that are supposed to be funny and all I want to see is that football head and a blue hat roaming the streets again.
—Or when the voice of an old cartoon change, even worse when the animation changes.
And as I get closer and closer to catching all two hundred and fifty of the elusive creatures, I find out that there are now a whopping four hundred ninety three Pokémon I have to catch.
These examples are insignificant in the grand scheme of things and maybe I am overly fond of the familiar ways of the past. Either way, it is a disappointment, a “let down” in a way, if I am going to be honest, when things are not the same. I admit, I am a sentimental guy and taking a stroll down memory lane is a regular exercise for me. But some things are not so insignificant.
In particular, I have a wonderful group of friends that all graduated from high school with me. We spent a better half of our junior year and all of senior year together, forming a tightly-knit crew. Jokingly and lovingly we labeled ourselves with a name that an outsider would not understand, but to us, that table was the hub of our last year in high school. Even now my smile shines, recalling the memories we made together—as one of my good friends once said, “I will never forget those long nights that turned into all-nighters.” Vows were spoken and promises were made that all would stay the same, despite the looming threat of distance and lack of communication. Then the year turned the corner and we bumped into college—half of us stayed home, and the other half left.
I confess, I cannot adequately describe what happened during the following months and it will take further hindsight to make a satisfactory conclusion—but what I will say is that we changed during those months. Each one of us in our own way changed and did not stay the same: style, attitude, actions, beliefs and more. Our first reunion together was full of surprised exclamations at these changes we saw in each other, not to mention gossiping about the differences.
At the time, I accepted the changes for what they were but I denied the effect that it would eventually have on the group as a whole. Sure they are different, I said, but everything will be back to normal soon. It never did get back to normal, back to the old, youthful days of our friendship. No, I do not think it ever will be like the “old days” and that is not a bad thing.
I am okay with that reality now— truthfully. I have realized that the change I saw in my friends and the change that occurred in me was more than just “change,” it was and is growth. Growth that has pushed us—and is pushing us— higher and deeper into the men and women we will become. No longer do we swing on the childish ways of youth and immaturity, but onward we climb on gripping life’s lessons as branches to heave ourselves to a new height. And it would be impossible to forget our roots—the youth of our past—because they steady us as we grow.
I have realized that in the coming years we will not stay the same individually or collectively but now I embrace this growth, embrace the men and women my friends and I are becoming and even more and I embrace the little family we are all fast developing into.
So, I treasure the present and the past because things will not always be the same; and now, I accept the future, inevitable growth because soon, that will become a treasure too.