It was in 4th Grade, the first time I can remember a teacher believing in me. My music teacher wrote on my report card that I should audition for District Chorus and at first I thought I read it wrong. Why would he suggest that I join an elite group? I’m not “elite” material. I auditioned in 5th Grade and made it. In 6th Grade I joined the Chamber Choir. I have loved singing ever since.
It was the summer after 7th Grade, when I got my first (and second) real crushes. My first crush was this practically perfect kid who I was in a show with. Half the cast was in love with him. The other half of the cast was in love with the other attractive practically perfect lead guy. The second crush was my brothers dorky, but sweet, friend. He always treated me like a friend too, though. Both of these crushes changed me. The first one, because he gave me feelings like I have never felt before. The second because he was there for me at a time when nobody else was. If I have a type, it’s the fault of these two boys.
My Junior Year of High School I auditioned for the school musical. While I wasn’t friends with the “in-crowd” of the play, I soon developed a pretty sturdy and badass friend group. These friends were always supportive, often funny, wholly loyal, and incredibly hard-working and intelligent. It was a fun time and this group was instrumental in the journey I took to find the best version of myself that I could be. I will always be grateful for that.
My Sophomore Year of College, I took up some random Freshman girl from Hillel’s offer to see a show. I didn’t know then that I had just met one of my best friends from college. I took the chance and invited one of my other best friends to the show. The three of us became inseparable ever since that fateful night. We’ve been with each other through the highs, the lows, and all the rest. College absolutely would not have been the same without them.
Where is my Elementary School music teacher now? Hell if I know. Where did those two crushes go? I think one’s in a band and other is…yeah, no idea whatsoever. I haven’t spoken to him in about five years. Where is my High School crowd? All over the place. All over the world, even. Where are my two best friends from college? Currently still at my old college, but only for a year or so more.
My point is, lot’s of people enter and exit our lives. Some pass without any scenes of note. Nothing remarkable about the way our paths crossed. It happened. They’re gone now. It would be impossible for every single person you ever interact with to make a noticeable difference. But a lot of people do. Some for an incredibly short time and some for a long and full time. But only a handful stay for the long-haul. That’s just a fact of life. A lot of the people who once mattered so much to you will one day become faded memories of the past.
Throughout Middle School, High School, and College…this fact destroyed me. Why did people have to go? How could people have such an effect on me and then disappear so suddenly and so totally? It doesn’t help that I have an unhelpful knack of getting attached to people who I don’t know all that well. Why does everyone leave me? Why do I lose everyone I care about eventually? Why is life so unfair and hard?
But, over the past year or so, I’ve come to a new philosophy. Sometimes a soulmate isn’t the person you end up living happily ever after with. They’re any person with whom your paths aligns with for any time and where both are changed by the time spent together. But sometimes, a lot of the time, people are just meant to be teachers and friends. They guide you on your way, leave an imprint on your soul, and then leave you to figure things out in your own time.
Any relationship that has touched me is far from gone. These people live on within me. They are in my every step, my every choice, my every wish. They all had their part in shaping me into the person I am today. And that is far from nothing. It’s heartbreaking when a major player in my life leaves. When I know things will never be the same. We will never be the same. It shatters me every single time. Especially when I see these people years and years later and see the person they’ve grown into while I was gone. It’s a bittersweet feeling. Bitter, because they’re gone. Sweet, because good for them.
I wish life wasn’t so transitory. But I’ve accepted that this is the way it is. Now, I just want to experience as much of it as I can. Make all the connections I can. See where it takes me. Hold the memories with me. It’s important to let people in. Whether they will eventually leave or not. Because it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.