Meeting at Different Stages / Loneliest Thing about Company

Nothing like ridiculous poses for a good picture.

As of late, I’ve felt that the loneliest thing about having a social life is enjoying it to its fullest extent as it occurs, but keeping alive, in the back of your head, the thought that it can all change drastically as a result of circumstances, whether intentional or wholly uncontrollable.

Just the other day, I ran into a few friends, one of which I’d know for quite some time. Enough time to the point that it became evident that I had interacted with her on different levels at different stages in our lives.

At each stage, I was slightly different.

A classic pose for me, supposedly.

I interacted with her as the person I was when I was halfway through my senior year of high school, again when I was almost through, again when I was wholly through, and now once more, over a year later.

A year spent outside of school, a year spent learning about myself, about my passions and desires, about the things I can and can’t do without; a year spent building my financial capital, getting accustomed to chasing and making the best of laboral opportunities … essentially, a year growing up.

Her being a year younger than myself, our most recent interaction was at a crossroads between the result of a year in “respite” (mine) and that of a year yet to begin (hers). It was delightful to mesh with someone that I’d communicated with under so many different circumstances at different times, again.

Seeing her, however delightful, taught me not just the virtue of meeting at different life stages but also managed to remind me of one of the loneliest things about people.

To avoid frustration, to avoid heartbreak (not wholly in the romantic sense) and to avoid depending on a pillar that’s ready to give any moment, I have to assume that this delightful meeting won’t happen again. Because if life and particularly my year “off” have taught me anything, it’s that people – whether friends, acquaintances, crushes, significant others, teachers, role models – come and go. It’s usually not their fault, at least as much as it isn’t yours.

Most of the time, it’s just the passage of time, and how the both of you respond to it. When these journeys through the passage of time meet, one farther along than the other, it’s beautiful.

But it’s equally deadly to think these meetings are a constant.

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