Parting with an old friend

Anya Edelman, Editor-At-Large

Graphic by Lauren Dyer

Our friendship began in elementary school when once a week we would jot down random goals on a variety of neon Post-it Notes and stick them all over my lavender wall. 

I always loved order: making my bed each morning, organizing my closet by color and spending hours perfecting the magnetic calendar above my bed. 

And so, our relationship was simple and healthy. 

She was there for me as a built-in support network, reminding me to do the multiplication worksheet assigned for Thursday and to do my laundry once a week.

High school was an unbelievably big transition: I was a bit taller than I was in third grade, and she had transitioned from an adolescent Post-it Note to a mature-looking assignment notebook.

Entering Glenbrook North knowing very few people, I felt comfortable focusing all my energy on my relationship with her instead of branching out. Occasionally, I would even choose spending time with her over other friends and family.

“She” is my daily to-do list.

My dad always taught me how important it was to appreciate childhood friends, but even he was concerned with how much I worshipped her and suggested I meet new people. 

But I was enamored by her charm. By putting her before relationships, sports and leisure, I could keep my grades up. I made my parents proud, all thanks to her. 

With time she became like a drug, more powerful and controlling by the day. 

She demanded my attention at any given moment. Because of her prominence in my life, I was never present. I would think about her during class when my teacher would lecture about the law of derivatives, in between writing numerous college essays or driving to work — my mind was her possession.

With her influence, I continued to keep a distance from my social life, especially my senior year.  But seeing the seniors around me use the justification, “We’ll never be kids again,” for their adventurous last-minute “late night adventures” made me question my priorities. 

As I approach the end of my time at GBN, I will walk out with unbelievable time-management skills and organizational habits. However, that does not even begin to account for the amount of regret I will carry with me too. No one will ever tell you that having a “to-do list” is a bad thing. In fact, it is highly encouraged. But for nearly the entirety of my year, I was dangerously obsessed with crossing things off the list every day. This continued to the point that any change of plans had an amplified effect on my health and mood swings.

I became unadaptable, forgetting to celebrate the happy moments or give my emotions time to relish, and most importantly, to be present and live in the last moments I had at home.

Today, I am getting rid of old habits slowly, in an attempt to reestablish control of my own life again. Whether that means catching a last-minute comedy show in Wicker Park on a weekend or going on an ice cream run on a Wednesday night, I am allowing for the unexpected to come back in my life.  

So, to all my fellow peers, whether you still have time left at GBN or you are taking the next step after high school, embrace the spontaneity in life.