In August, three of my closest friends moved away from D.C. Another is traveling frequently, only here on occasion.
It has been a tough month for looking forward. Usually I’m quick to spout off wise advice about taking everything as it comes and accepting that everything happens for a reason, things change, people come and go.
It’s a little bit harder when I have to apply this advice to myself.
I love D.C. I love that there are so many people, so many different types of people, and always something new to do. But part of this is that it’s a very transient city. And I’m at a very transient age. Some of my friends are in graduate school, others working full time. Some of them are doing gap years … or still doing gap years — three years after the first gap year. Some of them live in fancy apartments and drive expensive cars. Some of them live in shared houses. Some of them live at home. Some of my friends go out to bars every night. Some of them are married. Some have pets. One has a kid.
The point is, it’s hard to find time to meet up. It’s even harder to hold on to the things you once had in common.
The other day I was thinking about all of this and trying to make sense of it, or trying, at the very least, to find the good in it.
I do believe you keep in touch with the people that mean a lot to you, but I also believe that, sometimes, even if someone is important in your life, situations and evolving interests make it difficult to remain as close as you once were. So it’s important, as always, to savor what you have when you have it.
My 25th birthday was my friend Sylvia’s last day in D.C. She had been out all day visiting friends in various places. By the time she finished seeing everyone else and got to me, it was 11:00 pm. I was concerned it was too late, that it was going to be a hassle for her, but one thing you should know about Sylvia is that she’s unshakably loyal. If she gives you her word, she means it, and she’s committed to being there for her friends.
So at 11:00 pm, after a full day of goodbyes, Sylvia drove to my house from Virginia, sat at my kitchen table, and talked with me for over an hour. I have so many good things to say about this girl that I don’t even know where to start. Sometime I’ll write a whole separate post about her because she is truly incredible. But here’s just one example in the meantime:
When it was nearing 12:00, I said she must be tired and asked if she needed to go. She was exhausted. I could tell. I was exhausted. I was already in my pajamas. But Sylvia looked at the clock. “We have to wait ’til your birthday,” she said. And she stayed, fifteen more minutes, and then twenty more minutes after that, so that the first moments of my 25th birthday I spent with one of my most treasured friends, someone who over the past year and a half had been a central part of my life.
This was so precious to me. Sylvia’s last hours in D.C. My last hour of my first quarter century. That we got to spend them together was something really special.
I don’t know when we’ll see each other next, or if things will change, but I do know that that night, and the friendship that it represented, is something I will always remember. I have had so many adventures with Sylvia, so many wonderful times. It was, upon reflection, a poignant moment: The end, for both of us, of one phase, and the beginning, for both, of the next.