Sat, 25 Jul 2009 16:18:00 +0000
Every year, from first to fourth grade, I had a new home, new hobbies and a new best friend.
In first grade, my best friend was Alex. We played Power Rangers at recess. But one day he didn’t let me be the Red Ranger so I punched him.
In second grade, my best friend was Taylor. We played on the monkey bars, and we acted like acrobat doing flips off the top of the structure. One day, I fell on my head — that was the end of that.
In third grade, my best friend was Peter. We played four square and made up arbitrary rules that allowed us to stay in the game. But one day, Peter came to school with an arm cast so we spent recess trying to find sticks to help him scratch the itch in the cast.
And finally, in fourth grade, my best friend was Eric. We made a club — the Peanut Butter Club — and we had membership cards, nicknames and a dance. Then we got to fifth grade, and the club went away.
I never got to say goodbye to my best friends. In the summer, my parents would tell me we were moving and, within weeks, we would pack up everything we owned and go somewhere else.
I always wondered what my best friends thought when they came to school the next year and realized I had moved. Who would they sit by at lunch? Who would watch their back at recess? Who would be their partner for science projects?
But, as a kid, I expected life to change. I never let myself get rooted out of my place in life because I would never get rooted to deeply anywhere.
As I grew older, however, I wanted comfort. I wanted a home, I wanted to relax and I wanted life to change slowly. It’s true for most of us — we need to psychologically have things that make us comfortable.
A few months out of college, I’m reminded that life changes quickly.
We recently sold the house I grew up in. I’m moving into a new apartment soon — just gotta find one. I may have to find a new job soon — gotta find that, too. And, in fact, I’m thinking of changing my entire career path on a whim — a whim, after all, is how I ended up where I am today. (Have to find that, too.)
Nothing about life has really changed — life has always changed quickly, recklessly and boldly. I feel uneasy at times.
The hardest part of moving as a child, always, was leaving my best friend. In third grade, my best friend Peter said, “You better not move again. I need my best friend.”
Two weeks later, we moved.
The weird thing is that I don’t remember moving. I do remember watching a family move — a mom, dad and two kids that looked just like us. But I don’t remember actually doing it. I guess I detached myself. It was surreal each time. But I always managed to take a step back and see the narrative of our lives writing itself.
The narrative is hard to see now because the story is getting more complex. There are more plot twists and there are lower lows and higher highs.
But, like all good stories, my life is filled with people who will get me through it. I promise I won’t punch anyone or convince you to join a peanut butter cult.
I might lose a home and my hobbies — that happens, I suppose. But that’s where I want to cut my losses.