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Summertime is upon us once again and that means sunshine, snow cones, river trips, and graduates. One of those graduates this summer is my good friend Sarah. I met Sarah 2 years ago, she graduated 2 weeks ago, and moved back to Nashville 2 days ago, officially marking the end of her time in Cleveland.

This isn’t meant to be a sappy goodbye post, or one that you won’t understand unless you know Sarah. But, as hard as it is to think of her not being here anymore, I’m positive it is harder for her. Sarah and I both struggle with accepting change. It’s not that we don’t like welcoming great and new things into life; we just have a hard time letting go of equally great yet slightly less new things.

It’s relationships for the most part. I love people and I love my friends, which is why it is so hard when one of them leaves. I have been told before not to take friendship personal; advice I didn’t understand, or need to, until I came to college. College towns are temporary for pretty much everyone, including your friends. Often times you and your friends are unknowingly on different schedules of temporary. When your friend’s temporary ends they move away and they move on.

Moving on is not an easy task for both Sarah and I. Though I can’t speak for Sarah, for me I think it’s a fear thing. I’m afraid that if my friends move away then that’s it, we’re done. It’s over. I’ll admit, maybe not the most rational train of thought but I value my friends and I value the memories we have together. A quote exactly for such thinking that has stuck with me is this:

“Do not frown because it is over, SMILE because it happened.”

In my limited time here on earth I’ve realized life is just one chapter after another. Not exactly a groundbreaking realization I know, but it’s one that everyone must come to eventually. These chapters, well, my chapters have generally transitioned as I have moved from one town to another.

Sometimes you’re only in one chapter of someone’s story; sometimes you’re in the whole book. What matters is not how many chapters of theirs you may be in or how many chapters of yours they may be in; what matters is that you were in them, you were important enough to someone or they to you to even be in the story at all!

This is where not taking friendship personally comes in to play. Your responsibility is to write YOUR story the way YOU want it written, as others do the same for themselves. You aren’t going to sacrifice your story for someone else, and you shouldn’t, so why would they for you?

My friend Sarah just started a new chapter, a new chapter that won’t feature yours truly as often. Her new chapter is equally exciting and scary and I’m thrilled for her, genuinely. So, when it comes to Sarah’s story I choose not to frown because her chapter with me in Cleveland is over, but to smile because I was lucky enough to be in it at all.