For those of you who don’t know, I was recently hired by Miller Outdoor Theatre as their new Marketing Coordinator! It really is a dream come true because it is EXACTLY what I had envisioned for my idyllic, post-grad future. I get to keep doing all the things I loved in MSC OPAS, all while helping to serve the Houston community by bringing free, high-quality performances. (That’s right, every performance at Miller is FREE!) A lot of my job is social media, so you should definitely like us on Facebook and follow @MillerOutdoor on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest! Okay, plug over.
With all these wonderful, new and exciting things happening, I have grown more and more comfortable in this bizarre stage called “young adulthood”. Happy hour at 5:30 PM is now a much more frequent activity than bar hopping on a Thursday night, and a movie at home with my parents has since replaced midnight Whataburger runs with 30 people. I really do love my life nowadays, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I missed college occasionally. Okay….maybe more than occasionally. Often times it’s not even the spontaneous “young and free” mindset that identifies college, but rather it is who I was in relation to those closest to me for which I yearn. As most things have come to be, though, life has a funny way of turning what you think you know on its side and making it into something equally (if not more so) wonderful.
Throughout this new transition, I’ve greatly feared losing the ones I love to the slow decay of drifting apart. Everyone says that friendships change after college, and most of the time that means you fall out of touch and eventually lose contact. I get that. I understand that this is a part of the human journey: people come and go into your life. But what if I’m not ready to let go? What if these amazing individuals are supposed to be here for much longer? Julie, my best friend and former roommate (BFFR — this term comes up several times in the post, hence the abbreviation), puts it this way: you have friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for life. How do you fight for those that are supposed to be there for life, even when circumstances change? Can you still slip back into your old routine as if everything is still the same?
The answer is yes…sort of. You can go back home, but it’ll cost you, and that’s not necessarily a negative thing. I experienced this two weeks ago: I drove up to my home of four years, College Station, to watch the Aggies BTHO Mississippi State (which we did — whoop)! I took Friday off and eagerly went straight to the OPAS office….and upon arrival, I burst into tears. I know, this is really pathetic and over-dramatic. In my defense, I had no intention of crying, I was just SO overcome with happiness to see these people that I’ve missed so much. Mind you, it’s been about three months….which is not that long….but it was at that very moment when I realized I was in the exact place which holds all the belonging and relief I pined for. This home, this home was fresh and nostalgic. Because my current home — in all its fantastic excitement — is ever changing and evolving. I still wake up some mornings and feel like this is all just one long summer break; I’ll be back to my “normal” life soon. But I have a new normal. So it felt really good to rest for a few days in the memory of my former self.
Alas, my time in Aggieland was not all tears and sap — in fact, I had a blast being a “Former Student”. On Friday afternoon, I met up with my younger sister, Claire (a Freshman at A&M) and Haylie (BFFR), on Northgate. Haylie and I drank beer at the Dixie Chicken while playing pool with Claire (who was not partaking in the first activity, Mom). For a brief moment, Haylie and I discussed how we wish we could go back to our last year and do this all over again…until we remembered that we would leave the Chicken to go home and study. THAT we do not miss! I then ventured over to Downtown Bryan, my old internship stomping grounds, and had the loveliest of times with my former colleagues. It was a humbling experience to see how this community still cared for me and identified me as one of their own. Afterward, I met up with two of my other best friends*, Zach and Jordan (they are still students and so generously let me bunk with them), and the three of us watched a movie together. Just like old times.
The following morning, Jordan and I woke up just in time to get Whataburger’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits (God’s greatest gift to humanity/our personal obsession), and off we went to the land of tailgating! Having only been of drinking age for one football season, this is still a novice activity to me. But hey, you gotta start somewhere, and boy did we go in full force. We were fortunate enough to have been invited by my former advisor, Becky, who is arguably the most entertaining (and caring) person I know. Joined by our other OPAS counterparts, we laughed and chatted well into right before the game began, and even the Aggies winning couldn’t top the fun of our afternoon tailgate. (For the record, I only cried one other time: I was several beers deep and missing our other bestie, Alex, who is living the dream in New York.) After the game, we met up with a bunch of my dearest friends who I was so eager to see, and our gang had the most wonderful time catching up and picking up right where we left off.
Even after re-entering the real world, I have seen just how exciting and meaningful the ever-evolving dynamics with those closest to me can still be. A week ago, Ashley (BFFR), made me dinner, and we got to video chat with Haylie and Julie. Ashley and I are so lucky to have each other in Houston, but I cannot even begin to emphasize how grateful I am for technology. Seriously, when the four of us get to talk, it’s like we’re all sitting in our old living room. Our stories (medical school, jobs, families) have certainly changed, but our shared love and humor with each other has not.
To top it all off, my family has exhibited a similarly positive shift in subject but not in focus: Margaret (a Freshman at NYU) and Claire both came home from college last weekend, and it was the first time in months the five of us have been together. I was very nervous going into this weekend; toward the end of the school year, our family was experiencing what I think a lot of people go through, which is the strain of anticipation. My sisters now embarked on the college chapter of lives for which they so vigorously yearned, our immediate family is now experiencing a place of peace that we haven’t had for quiet some time. By having the opportunity to miss each other, it made our reunion that much sweeter.
With all these new developments and reinvented relationships, I’ve come to realize that maybe I’m changing, too. And that’s a good thing. I loved who I was in college, but the more I see my grown-up self peaking out, the more I want to get to know her. With the confidence of loved ones not lost in the picture, I’m still spinning to see how the future shapes up.
*I adopt The Mindy Project definition of best friends: it isn’t a person, it’s a tier.