Goodbye. Hello.

It’s hard to say goodbye to a friend who moves away. Even with modern conveniences making it easier than ever to continue the friendship, anyone who’s ever attempted a long-distance relationship will know the pratfalls inherent to that.

A close friend of mine, who I’ve known now for more than ten years—a good length of which was as a roommate—told me recently he’ll be relocating to the other side of the country. After passing through the five stages of grief, I’ve accepted this fact not only as a bold transition to a new opportunity for him, but as an end to an era of my life I’ve desperately struggled to hold onto: my adolescence.

After getting married, buying a house and rescuing my beloved quadruped, it’s easy to believe I’ve been ready to step into the deep dark night of adulthood for some time, but if I must be honest with myself, that is most assuredly not the case. Most of my greatest memories were built in this time, and a great deal of them (certainly far too many to list here) were with my friend at my side, and it’s only recently I’ve noticed my attempts to recreate that magic have ceased to be effective. My wife will attest most of these efforts have ended with brief stints of depression, as I’ve realized I simply can’t enjoy the same things I did not all that long ago—things both past and current friends continue to find rewarding.

My friend has been one of my sole ties to this realm, as his personal troubles have allowed him to keep a foot fully entrenched within it, and although together we had already come to the realization much of this would soon end as I take on another role in life—that of a father—we naively believed it was something that could be overcome, and my precious fingertip hold on childhood could be maintained.

Now, as we knew I would, I've slipped.

It’s not horrible news by any means, just something to be noted. In fact, in many ways, I’ve already moved on. I don’t go out on the drop of a dime, don’t spend my money as fitfully as I once managed, and can’t for the life of me stay out much later than the start of the Late Show. This should make this final leap somewhat easier, but, again seeped in honesty, these were but baby steps. This next is a jump there’s no going back from.

So, as my friend embarks on his new journey, hopefully one ending with newfound happiness, so I, too, go boldly where I’ve never gone before. And while I may be frightened and racked with nerves, I’m also terribly excited, and can’t help but smile every time I take a chance look at the empty car seat sitting stoically outside my bedroom.