I read a lot of books when I was younger. I’d read novels, 300 pages thick, in less than a day, and I was always begging my mom to bring me to the bookstore. I’d spend upwards of hours perusing the shelves of the young adult section, stacking book after book in my arms. I loved reading; losing myself in the stories, becoming obsessively involved the lives of the characters. I always felt like I belonged whenever I read a good book.
I attribute my bookworm tendencies to my lack of friends growing up. I was never good at making friends, and because of this, I spent many (many, many, many) afternoons curled up on my grandma’s couch, alone, surrounded by piles of books. In fact, I blame my insane and intricate obsession with Harry Potter to my friendless-ness. Harry, Hermione, and Ron were my best friends growing up, and while that may sound sad to some, I’m grateful I at least had them in my life.
High school rolled around, and it was then I decided I was done reading. I was over sitting at home on a beautiful summer day losing myself in books. I wanted adventures — adventures like the characters in my books had. I didn’t want to read about exciting nights out any longer; I wanted to live some of my own.
And so I stopped reading. I hung out a lot with a semi-large group of friends, and I always had something to do. I stayed out late, made memories, had my own stories to tell. When I graduated high school, I had a group of friends that I loved and cherished. As I walked across that stage, diploma in hand, I was uncertain about many things to come in the future — namely, college and moving away from home — but keeping in touch and maintaining life long friendships with the people I didn’t think I could live without was not one of them.
Within two weeks of graduation, things fell apart, and now, two years later, out of all my “best friends,” I’m only inseparably close with one. The people I thought were always going to be my life no longer were. When I was left, once again, without friends to spend a majority of my time with, however, I didn’t resort back to my books. I wasn’t going to do it. I loved Harry, I really did, but I didn’t want to spend my college career attached to his hip, and I knew if I spent the summer in a love affair with Harry, I could kiss a social life in college goodbye.
I entered college with the idea that the friends I made my freshman year would be the friends I kept, at least for the next four years, if not forever. I was more than disappointed when my first year at school came to a close and I hadn’t seemed to make any of the connections I had expected to. Freshman year gave me nothing; I had no crazy stories to tell, no adventures to speak of, and only a few acquaintances.
I think life has a plan for everyone though, and sometimes, you just have to be patient enough to see what it has in store for you. I waited my allotted amount of time, and then life granted me what I had always wanted. As sophomore year began, I was optimistic that I would make a few friends, but I didn’t expect to find people I connected with the way I did.
I found what I wanted. I found the people to go on late night adventures with, the people that would star in the crazy stories I told my kids in a monologue not unlike that of Ted from How I Met Your Mother. I made friends who would pick me up off the ground crying, who would calm me down and console me. I met the person I could crawl into bed with when it seemed like my world was falling apart, the person who would always be there to laugh at my misfortune, the person I could count on to stay up until dawn just so I wouldn’t have to write my paper in a silent apartment. I know who will be giving a drunken toast atop a table at my wedding, swaying with her drink in her hand and I know I will always have people in my corner to back me up, no matter what.
It’s summertime now, and I’m back at home without friends, once again. I’ve started reading again. It’s been a while, but I remember why I liked it so much; I belong when I read. This time, though, spending a majority of my time buried in books isn’t as bad, because I know it’s temporary. I’ll be back with the people I love soon enough. I know my dive back into literature is only temporary; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
I can’t see the future, though. I can’t ensure that all the people I’ve met this past year will be around forever. I can’t know anything for certain, and I predict that I will lose a few friends and make a few more in the years to come. I know I can’t know for certain that these people will always be there, but something feels different time. This time, I like my chances.