Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Cost of Growing Up: A Letter to My Friends

What is the cost of growing up? What do we sacrifice in our attempts to be a successful and mature adult? This article takes a personal look at some of my observations and seeks to establish a connection with my childhood friends.

Setting the Stage
In 1993, I graduated from Lincoln High School, which is located in Tacoma, Washington. Looking back, I now know that commencement was the beginning of the end. On that day, each of us was set free to pursue our lives. Some went to work while others went to college. Some got married and decided to raise a family while others did not. In the end, life changed.

For most of us, we grew up together. We saw each other nearly every day for years, but in the process of growing, we had to go our separate ways.

With the introduction of the Internet and applications like Facebook and MySpace, I have been able to reconnect with many of those from my school, neighborhood, and church. Having been away from Washington for over 15 years, I miss them and the young man I used to be.

Today, I have a grown up job and kids to look after, but regardless of my age or role I play in society, I am still the same guy, friend, and student that I was, just older and wiser.

Through social networking sites, I find that I am connected. I am a character in someone's life like they are in mine.

To some, growing up holds terrible memories. For me, it is a time where I was the most honest and innocent. It is a time of my life where I was not defined by my job or salary. If you knew me then, you know the real me.

In North Carolina, I live over 3,500 miles away from home. I see that many of my people have continued to grow together and I envy that.

Some of my closest friends will forever be my closest friends, but we don't talk or see each other as much as we used too. The lack of communication, I find, is the result of personal ambitions, relocation, and changing priorities.

We are the sum of all our experiences. To ignore the life and contributions of my childhood friends is like ignoring a big part of who I am. Living here in North Carolina is great. I have made new friends and created new memories, but my formative years are special. Those people are special.

So, to all of you around the world that have contributed to my life. Yes, this means you my friend, family, school mate, brother, crush, love, teacher, administrator, neighbor, pastor, and role model, I say thank you. Thank you for the moment(s) and memories we share.

In reading this, I want you to know how much I appreciated our time, however short or long; and hopefully, through the use of technology, we can reconnect, maintain, and strengthen our friendship for the future.

Feedback
In the comment section below, feel free to share your thoughts. What costs have you experienced in the process of growing up? What changes or sacrifices have you made to get to where you are? Are there any particular memories of youth you find most valuable? Let's explore this topic together.

Until next time...

Image via Tipu Kibria

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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