I’ve seen Stand By Me, The Wrong Guys, heck, I’ve even seen Now and Then where Rosie O'Donnell plays grown up Christina Ricci--sorry Christina, looks like your 40's aren't going to be kind to you. Point is, the whole reconnecting with childhood friends years later to discover just how much things have changed while just how much they’ve also stayed the same story is played—like seriously played. Ever see Hollywood’s latest reheat of this, Grown Ups? No? There, proof that everyone is pretty much sick of this well tread schtick, and Kevin James. Kevin, just stop. Just stop it already. Please. I know you read this blog…
When I drove twelve hours to West Virginia last week for a couple of days of mountaintop Tom-Foolery with some of my best buds from high school, it wasn’t exactly movie worthy. And by that I mean it wasn’t trite and melodramatic. The most drama probably occurred when one guy was woken up by six, drunken serenaders at 3 in the morning, or maybe when one of those drunken serenaders tried to start a fire on the cabin floor after everyone else had
passed out gone to sleep. Yeah, we’re awesome. Maybe that’s because even though we’ve all been scrambled across half the country (New York to Kansas City) we still stay in pretty good contact with each other. It’s hard, very hard, but in the age of facebook and fantasy football, it’s possible. We make it work. You got to want to make it work.
No great revelations or discoveries occurred; most of my high school friends are in stable relationships, or engaged, or married, or married with children, but I knew about all of that beforehand. Houses, careers, families, lots of Honda Civics—all very different from my current life style, but all very old news to me too. I did, however, get a little perspective. Now I have to be careful here because a lot of these guys read this blog—can you have journalistic integrity whilst blogging?
I spent most of my time growing up weighing and measuring myself against these dudes. If one got his driver’s permit, I knew it was time to start asking Dad for the car keys. If one sent in his first college application, I knew it was time to put down Golden Eye long enough to fill one out myself. If one started dating—eh, who am I kidding? Dating was few and far between for us in high school, but you get the picture.
But now these same guys who I ran neck-and-neck with in high school have drastically veered off from the course that I’m currently running, which leaves me with two conclusions; either they’re way off track, or I am. I’ve spent a lot of time considering both.
The answer that I’ve come to isn’t something that struck me like lightning atop a mountain while singing Kumbaya around the fire, nor is it something that’s done developing. It’s a slow, gradual, eeking realization that I can’t even say has fully dawned on me yet, but I can at least recognize it as something that will someday.
When you’re passionate about something, when you love something, you go after it with everything you’ve got. A career, a degree, a relationship, a romantic relationship, a life style—whatever you love, you sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed and change what needs to be changed in order to get it. I've certainly done that for my chance at grad school. But it’s still weird for me to think that the same people who for so long shared the same desires and were pointed in the same direction, can seemingly peel off on so many completely different paths, but I guess that’s pretty human, to change, to progress.
I don’t think growing up is necessarily inevitable, but change definitely is. The way to maintain true friendships in the face of this inevitability is to accept those changes in your friends and support them in their decisions, as they should you. I think I’ve spent too long resisting these changes in my friends, wondering whether they mean it’s time for me to change too, when the only thing I need to do is support my friends in them. That’s all. Support them in their changes and let understanding come in time. Let’s see Kevin James make a movie about that. Wait, what was The Zookeeper about? Oh, no one saw that? Nevermind.