As a middle school P.E. assignment my class was forced to choreograph a 1-2 minute dance routine and perform it in front of everyone. As you can imagine in 7th grade this was pretty much your worst nightmare. Alas, my best friends and I decided if we were going to do it we were going to make ours hot shit the best. So, we formed our little group and worked tirelessly to perfect our routine. We even took it a step further and got matching outfits (I’m talking matching juicy couture velour sweat suits and blue sparkly eye shadow, people.) And when the DJ, I mean our middle-aged gym coach, played Britney Spears' "Toxic" we simultaneously busted out our best moves… and killed it (duh!)

Middle school, high school and, even college, are typically periods of sameness. Not necessarily matching outfits and choreographed dance moves sameness, but we’re all in it together - navigating the same classes and campuses. Dealing with similar issues and trials.

As we enter into our 20s, however, everything changes. Suddenly, it feels like we're not all in it together anymore. After years of sameness throughout adolescence, it's easy to believe that in order to have deep, real friendships, we must stay in the same phase of life as one another. But, what I've learned is that connection doesn't require common ground. Tides are constantly shifting and, if we are only able to maintain friendships when we're all the same, it’d be virtually impossible.

While some people are getting engaged, others feel as though they’ll be eternally single. Some people are getting promotions; others are piling up degrees in grad school. Alongside weddings are divorces. Alongside babies are breakups.

For me, with joy for one, comes jealousy for another. The key to moving past this is understanding that the playing field is constantly shifting. There will always be someone who has what we want. And we will always have what someone else wants. By practicing gratitude for where we are, we can avoid being overcome with jealousy or nostalgia, and begin loving on our friends the way we were meant to. Be grateful for today and know that right now is enough. I know and believe that this life is unfolding exactly as it is meant to be.


Photography by Garrett Lobaugh