Connection Lost…Attempting to Reconnect…

I’ve been living on my own for a little over four years now, having moved out of my mom’s house indefinitely in August of 2012. My first year of college spanned from September 2011 to April 2012, and when that year ended I moved back home. I got a new TV, a fancy LG manufactured in April 2012, in August of that year, and have loved it ever since. That’s not, however, the point of this piece. What I’ve truly done for the last four years of my life is lose the connections I once had with people I considered my friends — and some of them were very, very close friends.

High school graduation came in June 2011, and I’m fairly sure I can say that everybody was ecstatic about finally being out of the high school nicknamed the Chix, with the brown and mustard yellow colors. We’d joke about our colors being shit and piss because our sports teams were downright awful year after year (with the exception of the 2008–09 basketball team #4 state in-state #33 nationally at 27–1 (see here) and the 2010–11 football team which went undefeated until the state quarterfinals here).

After my final year of high school, I moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan to begin college at Western Michigan University. Most of the people I knew were going to other schools, U of M, MSU, GVSU (Grand Valley State University), or small colleges throughout Michigan. Some, though, went to WMU with me. My brother and two of my best friends were among a group of about seven or eight people I can name off the top of my head who decided on WMU. That we went to the same university didn’t mean we were going to be hanging out all the time, though. Honestly, I was only ever with my brother and roommate (who happened to be my best friend since sixth grade). I didn’t contact any of the friends I had in high school aside from maybe a Facebook post for their birthday (some of which I actually knew!). My freshman year came to a close with me losing one close friend, and become even closer to my roommate. That’s it. That’s what I accomplished people-wise in the 2011–2012 school year.

After that year I moved into an apartment by myself in Kalamazoo because my brother and roommate decided to move back home for a year and I didn’t have anybody else around me (I also didn’t want to go into an apartment blind). So there I was in Kalamazoo, in a single bedroom apartment paying close to $650-$700 a month with no friends, except for when my brother and childhood friend came down to see me, and the fact that I hadn’t contacted anyone didn’t even cross my mind. I was content, happy, maybe a bit lonely at times, but content being on my own.

I lived like this (for the most part, there was a time where I sort of had a girlfriend as a roommate but that didn’t go very well) until 2014–2015 when my brother moved back down to Kalamazoo, rooming with the same person we’d been with since our freshman year (that’s all I’ll say about that for reasons I’m not going in to). Soon, my brother was living with different people, making connections with new roommates, people at the apartment complex we were both living at, and co-workers. My brother moved and still kept the connections he made at the first apartment he was at, eventually moving in with the three people he’d met (he still lives with one of them and I like to think their close friends).

So, from August 2012 until August 2015 I lived alone. I didn’t make friends, only acquaintances through my brother, who had friends from work and roommates, but did manage to meet my current girlfriend. Even so, I hadn’t contacted a single person from my hometown aside from a happy birthday, or one of the ‘we should hang out some time when we’re both back home’ but never actually followed through with the plans (partially because I rarely went home). I saw one of my best friends, who is practically family (insanely close with my mom and entire dad’s side of the family) for the first time in three years this summer. He hadn’t really changed except that he’d traveled Europe, spent time in Australia, and other places around the world, and graduated from college.

That’s pretty much it to be honest. I saw my long-time friend for the first time in three years for one day, and it was almost like we hadn’t been apart. It was natural, normal, and downright fun seeing him and seeing him get along with my girlfriend (which is new, and good(!), because my last relationships never had good connections with my brother and friends). Outside of this I still hadn’t contacted anybody. A former neighbor of mine, though, has started popping up randomly on my Facebook and Twitter in the last month (I see you, [insert name here]). He started liking my statuses, tweets, Instagram pictures, and then commented on a Nintendo 64 video I posted on Facebook a few days ago.

My initial reaction to all of this was “what the hell, he remembers me?” because we’d pretty much lost contact after about eighth grade. We were neighbors starting around second grade, really got to know each other in third and fourth, and were always playing sports outside; sports games inside; watching sports; watching random TV shows; and playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for days and days; and my personal favorite (because we got in trouble for it) playing Dragon Ball Z: Budokai. We got in trouble for trying to beat the Advanced tournament in the game with every character at 3:00AM…but we did it! (sorry, not sorry, mom — we were having fun). Still though, he popped back into my life in a way very recently.

A few days ago this friend, my brother, and I were messaging on Facebook and our friend said: “You take your good friends for granted when you go to college and all that crap, and when you move away from all friends it gets you thinking about being a better one to the select few you should have kept in better contact with.” I completely agree with this. I did, however, pull a dipshit move and shove my phone in my pocket with the conversation still up, and all I sent back to his great message was a thumbs up…a massive, blue, awkward thumbs up. Did my brother get on me about it? Yeah, because that’s what he does. It was funny, but in all seriousness the thumbs up is exactly the wrong message. I’m at fault there, because what my friend said is true. We took each other for granted after slowly separating throughout high school. He played football and was very, very good at it, my brother and I played tennis (we were good, too) and we simply didn’t talk to each other outside of a “hey, man” or “what’s up how have you been?” in the hallways of school.

We lost contact slowly and eventually went our separate ways. But now, I think we’ll talk more, see each other occasionally because he’s no longer in Michigan, and honestly reconnect in a way. We’ve planned a Nintendo 64 dominance day/reunion for winter break already, which is awesome. Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, fifty turn Mario Party(?), NCAA Football on the 360 possibly (because college football — go Green! ha-ha), Knights of the Old Republic maybe? I’m not sure what we’ll do, but we’ve planned something, and that’s better than nothing.

The conversation we had, even though it didn’t last very long, was needed in a way. We were great friends, had common interests (my mom even gave his mom some recipes when we were younger! — sorry about that chicken lasagna thing, man) and then it stopped. It made me realize that yes, we do take our friends for granted when we move away, we lose contact and think “oh, they’re off doing their own thing, let’s not bother them,” but it shouldn’t be that way.

What I learned is that you shouldn’t lose connection with your good childhood friends unless the actions of one or both of you deem it necessary to continue living happily. I’ve cut people out of my life for good reasons, but I still regret losing contact with a select few.

Connection lost…attempting to reconnect…

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