Pals for Life

October is a month when I do a lot of thinking. I take a long look at my life, my accomplishments, my goals, and most of all, the people that I have in my life. I pay a great deal of thought to the friends I have, because two Octobers ago, I lost a friend who I had known since I was just seven years old.

It’s still a sobering memory to this day. I can vividly recall how I felt and went through my head when I first learned that he had passed away. I also remember how my life immediately began to change as soon as I learned that horrible news.

I was stunned, almost in disbelief. A 21-year-old kid, someone I had grown up with, no different from myself, gone from this world so quickly; it was a difficult subject for me to wrap my mind around right away. The gravity of the situation didn’t hit me at first, at least the way that it eventually would later on.

When the shock finally began to dissipate, I found myself entering the biggest turning point of my life thus far.

You never like to say that something good could possibly come out of a tragedy like that, but it did, at least for me. At the time, I had been in a falling out with another friend, one of my closest. We were going on months without speaking to one another, all over stupid, petty reasons, many of which I was at fault for.

I eventually made an effort to resolve things between her and I. We came back together, and since then, I’ve had some of the greatest memories with her; memories I probably would never have experienced if I hadn’t received a serious wake up call.

With one friend’s passing, I understood that I needed to cherish my friendships more, and that I never wanted to lose one ever again.

That’s when the thinking started. I began to look back on my life and all of the bonds I had formed. I haven’t stopped thinking since.

To this day, I ponder the other friendships I haven’t been lucky enough to rekindle or repair. None of these friends passed away; we simply went our separate ways in time, whether it was on amicable terms, or, regrettably, bitter terms.

For some, I have no one to blame but myself. Those hurt the most, because I realize that I could probably still have those friends in my life right now if I hadn’t taken them for granted. If I had appreciated them just a little bit more—showed them that appreciation—they could still close companions of mine, and not just memories.

I don’t plan on making that mistake anymore. I understand that certain things are beyond my control, and that most likely, myself and many of my friends will go down different roads at some point. But if I ever do lose one for good, it won’t be because of a mistake made by me.

And luckily, I have a lot of amazing pals still in my life; it’s a massive group, to say the least. I got a taste of just how blessed I am over the summer, when I had 35 people come out to celebrate my birthday, and even more than that took time of their day to send me some kind of birthday wish.

Those are the same friends who always there for me, not just when it’s most convenient for them. They’re ready to drop anything at a moment’s notice if I’m down in the dumps and need cheering up. They’re also the ones that have given me tremendous support for all my endeavors, namely my writing aspirations, which they all seem to understand is the most important goal in my life.

It’s things like this that make me love each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart. They’re the reason why my life is so great.

But still, I think of the friends I’ve lost, too, and I never forget the joy they once brought me.