I’ve been wondering why I haven’t cried yet.
I walked the stage this weekend, blurred by a sea of people celebrating each monumental step we took into the next chapter of our lives during graduation. But I didn’t cry.
I held hands with fellow students as we took a deep sigh of relief and yelped for joy over the booming sound of fireworks ringing in our ears during commencement. Yet I still didn’t cry.
But as I was washing my face in the shower tonight, the waterworks began. It all hit me in that odd moment, when I realized how significantly my life has just changed.
College has taught me more about myself, more about people, and more about life than I could have ever imagined.
One thing I’ve realized is that although I may not initially respond well to change, I adapt pretty quickly. While I usually throw a fit and dramatize the severity of the situation, I quickly adjust to live happily in the new, often forgetting the old.
I think I started crying because I don’t want to forget anything I’ve learned, anything I’ve experienced, and especially anyone I’ve met.
Tonight was my last night in Austin, and I spent it hitting balls off of a cliff (how I interpret Top Golf) and dancing on a rooftop terrace overlooking the lit up city of Austin, Texas that I’ve called home for the past four years. I never want to forget the moment of immaculate joy I felt as I was holding hands with three adored friends (one of whom I’ve known, the other two I met tonight), spinning in a perfect, dizzying circle as our heads bobbed every which way from frenzied laughter. The kind of laughter that starts deep in the pit of your stomach and quickly tiptoes to every other inch of your body to make you feel like you’re dancing on top of the world.
This is the kind of laughter I’ve experienced with multiple friends over the past week, and this is the kind of laughter I never want to forget. People make fun of me sometimes for trying to capture every moment of my life, and friends sometimes even get annoyed at my constant documentation. While I never let it get in the way of living in the moment, I feel the need to capture the essence of every memory so I’ll never forget.
Maybe it’s because I know I don’t have the best memory, but I want some tangible pieces of evidence for every feeling of ecstasy and love I’ve felt for the world and the people in it.
So for the people who have ever touched my life in any shape or form, thank you.
To my friends: thank you for loving the wild, hyperactive, dramatic, emotional me. Thank you for teaching me what love is, whether it was for a person, a food, a place, or an idea. Thank you for showing me what uncontrollable, genuine laughter feels like. Thank you for either dancing with me on top of the bar or cheering me on from the floor. Thank you for being amused rather than disgusted by my abnormal ability to shove large amounts of food into my mouth. Thank you for getting in the car with me and letting me drag you to obscure events or restaurants around Austin (and extra thanks for trusting me with your life because everyone knows I’m one of the worst drivers to exist).
I know it sounds so dramatic for me to say lengthy, emotional goodbyes to people that I will most likely see again in the future. I know it makes some people uncomfortable, and I know it’s not easily understood.
But whether our paths cross in the future or we never speak again, please know that you’ve made an impact on my life. Every friend I’ve spent time with over the past few years has been in my life for a reason. You’ve had a special quality that has made me, along with many others, desire your companionship and friendship.
So while I was upset that I’d forget the feelings and memories associated with my friends, I realize that it’d be impossible to erase an imprint that’s already been cemented into my heart. Your friendship has left a stamp made of permanent ink on my life, and though it may fade, it will never reverse the impact it’s made in shaping me into the person I’ve become.
Every tiny moment spent together has made me a happier person.
So if by unfortunate chance you forget about me, I hope you never forget the impact you’ve made on my life.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou