The Truth on Growing Apart

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My life is nothing like the teenage dramas I watched in high school told me it would be. No guy has stood outside my window in the rain giving a monologue about how he can’t live without me (and quite frankly that’d be creepy), I never wear five inch heels on a daily basis, especially when I was in school, and none of my friendships ended in dramatic sabotage. We just grew apart.

The older I get, the more I realize that people truly do grow apart; it’s not just an excuse!! It’s not anyone’s fault, nor is it anything personal at all. We all are changing and evolving into the people we were born to be. People we may have clicked way back when may not vibe with who we are now – and that’s okay.

Use me as an example.

When I look back on who I was in high school, I cannot BELIEVE the changes I’ve gone through, physically and mentally, since then. As a freshman in high school, I had glasses (my astigmatism was too bad for contacts available at that time) and braces. I was shy AF, to the point where I signed up to do a bio presentation on Asperger’s thinking it was the aforementioned astigmatism (they sounded alike) and was too embarrassed and awkward to tell my teacher my mistake. And I was SO insecure. I doubted myself every day, worried no one would like me if I didn’t buy the obnoxious PINK sweatpants and Hollister polos.

And then I went to college. I was SO sheltered, and instead of dealing with the change normally (read: going out and making friends) I PANICKED. I think I went to 2 parties my entire first semester of college. I stayed in, watched entire series on Netflix, and called my friends from back home. Now, staying in instead of going out is in NO WAY a bad thing (I willingly choose to do so on the regular nowadays) but at the time, it was so unhealthy. I isolated myself and didn’t allow myself the opportunity to branch out and grow up. I then made up for lost time by going WILD sophomore year. I was always out, always over editing pictures, and always craving ANY form of attention. I went from one extreme to the other, and neither were good for me. Along came junior year, and I got very into my studies and joined PUDM, which made me rethink my priorities and changed me for the better. I gained a confidence I had never known before, and found friends who supported me, my new found religion, and ALL of my decisions, even when they were wrong.

After graduation from Purdue, I moved to Chicago and arguably became the most extra person in the city limits, which I can assure you NONE of my high school graduating class would have guessed. In the time since, my blog has helped me grow thicker skin than I ever thought I’d have, and I’ve developed this intrinsic drive to do better and be better every day. High school Caitlin would have done the bare minimum and been too scared to push higher, but current Caitlin is like “YAAAS let’s do it!

I can 110% see why someone I was friends with in any of these various stages of my life and I have grown apart. As I have matured and evolved, so have they. Our personalities have changed. Our interests have changed. Our environments have changed. That is the beautiful thing about life. We are never static and always dynamic, responding to the people and situations around us.

Instead of being so sad about growing apart from friends, peers and significant others, I try to focus on the growth and happiness each brought into my life. Would I have had a fulfilling high school experience without the group of friends I had? No way. Would I have made PUDM exec without older members of my sorority pushing me to do so? Not a chance. Everyone I used to be close to has shaped me into who I am today, regardless of our current relationship status, and for that I am SO thankful.

The most beautiful things to me are the relationships that last. Despite my major changes and those of others around me, I cherish the friends who have made a conscious effort to stay present in each other’s “now”, helping one another through each and every stage of life, instead of just one key period. These are the girls that will be in my wedding; the ones that my children will call “Auntie”; the ones I will make cross country visits just to drink a glass of wine with every year for the rest of my life. One day, my husband will be one of these relationships that last, even as we mature, advance in our careers, grow old together and raise a family.

When you grow apart from someone, try to find a piece of happiness in all the hurt. That person was there for you in an incredible way and helped to shape the path of your life. Be grateful that for a period, no matter how fleeting, you were an integral part of each other’s lives, and when you hear a song on the radio that makes you think of them, smile and remember the good times.

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