If I knew then…
As hundreds of students across the county prepare for graduation later this week, I can't help but think back to the spring of 1998 when I completed by senior year of high school.
My friends and I counted down the days until graduation and being free from school forever.
Those final weeks flew by like a car racing down the backstretch at Talladega. They were there for a brief period of time and are now only a blur in my memories.
The final summer with my high schools friends is also a blur. Some friends left early to join the military while others did not depart until late August and early September as they spread across the South to attend various colleges.
Before the summer ended and we exchanged e-mail addresses – at a time when most people still had dial-up Internet service – and went our separate ways.
Sean joined the Navy while Josh went to Clemson and J.J. moved to Arkansas to take classes at Harding University. Shane and Brad attended the University of Alabama-Huntsville while Anthony and I decided to get our education at Auburn.
As time passed we drifted apart and fell out of touch. Even Anthony and I, who were at the same university, saw less and less of each other as the semesters went by.
Before I knew it, I had transferred to the University of North Alabama, got married and bought a house. None of my high school friends knew about any of this.
About a year ago Sean called my mother, who took down his contact information. He was in town, so we met up one afternoon and caught up on old times.
Since then, I have been able to find a few of my friends on Facebook and I ran into others in Huntsville. Unfortunately, some of my dearest friends at the time have been more difficult to locate.
The friends I have gotten in contact with no longer have contact information for the other friends.
While I have rekindled some of those friendships, they lack the richness they once possessed. I don't know if that is because we have changed so much since we graduated of it is just difficult to connect well on the Internet.
I regret to this day falling out of touch with those guys.
If I had one piece of advice to give to this year's graduating class it would be to find something that makes them happy. If you are happy with your career and love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.
If I had two pieces of advice I could give them it would be stay in touch with your friends. It is easy to drift apart and you never know when you might need them.