A common misconception is that you have to know someone for a really long time for them to become really close to you.
It’s true, when you go through a lot with someone you can grow closer. You learn more about them because you’re faced with so many different situations. In university you have three long but short years to do just that. But this isn’t always the case.
I’ve come to realise how many extraordinary people I’ve met in just the past year, and how they’ve totally changed my life. This doesn’t mean I don’t see the value in the friends I’ve known from day one (shout-out to Molly, Andy & Dan), but you can never write people off. Ever.
Otherwise you suddenly find yourself in third year and you feel old and it’s almost coming to the end of your degree there’s a sense of ‘what’s the point?’ among many people. And this extends to friendships.
We draw our lines, only to close ourselves in.
My personal experience started with Marcus and Deborah. I’ve talked about them a lot in these blogs, so you’d be surprised to know that we only became really good friends on pancake day last year – and the three month whirlwind that ensued encompassed some of the best times of my life.
But they were leaving. It was so late in the year. I say: so what?!
Our friendship was one big adventure (I was going to say ‘from start to finish’ – but there is no finish, despite them now being in Singapore. There’s only change in our friendship). Even though pretty much the whole gang had left when I came back to tackle my third year, and that hurt terribly, that’s what love’s all about, right? As someone recently reminded me, misery is wasted on the miserable. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the feeling of the dent people leave in our lives when they go. We need to start cherishing that bittersweet missing feeling, so we don’t let our fear of loving people that much deter us from ever entering into the friendship in the first place. If you miss someone so much it hurts, they must’ve been pretty damn awesome, mustn’t they?
Even now, with two months to go, I’m still meeting new friends (shout out to Lesley), and they’re changing my world. I only started being close with Lucie, Tiff and Tom, three of my closest friends, at the start of this year!
Now what’s got me on this philosophical-ish tangent, I hear you ask?
Well… I’ve been listening to a lot more podcasts (shameless endorsement here – they’re brilliant), and philosophical lectures. It’s made me realise how we are taught to conceptualise life all wrong. We are taught that this is a journey with a destination. To totally contradict this and to quote a long-running private joke (sorry) – Mollu, life’s NOT a journey. Well, in this sense, to me, there’s not just one destination!
We are taught to buy into this system of constantly looking forwards! Oh so you’ve finished school? On to college/Sixth Form you go! Done with that now? Go to uni, quick! And get your degree done so you can start your job. ASAP.
With constantly living in the future, we often write off the present.
Now I’m not saying investing in your future is bad. Definitely not. That’s valuable and sensible stuff. But we can’t be so stuck in looking to the future that we spend our whole lives waiting to arrive at some kind of destination – only to find out we are then too old or tired to enjoy all the things we wanted to experience all along. We are wasting opportunities because we are too busy looking forwards instead of at what’s right in front of us.
And how does this apply to friends and university? We keep thinking that we are on this journey with all these different destinations – getting your GCSEs, then your A-Levels, then your degree, then this and that and this, and it goes on forever. Because of this I often find that when we come to the end of one ‘journey’ we see ourselves as lame ducks; this is a political term used in the context of when someone in office comes to the end of their tenure, and so everyone sees them as powerless and starts looking to their successor instead.
But this is such a defeatist attitude! You are not just done. Your life doesn’t completely change just because you aren’t in the same place working towards the same qualification or project. Your life is happening now – not when the next chapter starts. So if you meet up with a new person on the last day of your current stage, don’t cast them off. I don’t like to think of it as stages but as one continuous life, building towards making every day and experience incredible; making the most out of what you want at that specific time.
One day, or one person can change everything. And every person can teach you something.
Don’t be a lame duck. Dive head-first into your life right now instead of constantly living in a future that hasn’t happened yet.
Don’t wait for the next hour, the next day, or the next chapter. Embrace what you have now with everything you’ve got.