The mythical lore of invincibility was assuredly established by a teenager.
When we were young, we felt like life as we knew it would never end. Not merely our agility and energy, either. As adolescents, we thought that who we were would never change.
Our personalities, our interests and our beliefs all seemed as though they would be constant, forever.
Can you remember listening to your favorite music and thinking that it was the greatest thing you had ever heard? Do you still feel that way?
How about your sense of humor? Do you still make the same jokes that you made when you were a kid?
No? Me neither.
Life comes at us fast, and things change. The person who I was then is not the person who I am today.
My belief system has been challenged and tested, weakened, adjusted, altered, shifted and reshaped. My interests are always changing, too. From the music I enjoy, the types of television and movies that I watch, my hobbies and the clothes that I wear, I’ve changed and learned a lot since I was a teenager.
Leaving pieces of our younger self behind as we grow into an adult, that’s called maturity, and it’s natural, and it’s healthy.
But, it’s not easy.
As the things we used to like lose their luster and fall out of favor, sometimes, the people with who we shared those things are also abandoned.
This can hurt, and with those growing pains, our feeling of invincibility fades away. But, however painful losing a friend may be, it is, oftentimes, essential to our health.
One piece of introspective philosophy of which I value is the theory that, while all that grows changes, not all that changes grows.
If one changes, momentarily, for profit or for benefit, and then reverts to old behavior when challenged, one has not grown. Anyone can change; it takes pain and perseverance to grow. Change is fleeting; growth is withstanding.
I’ve grown substantially since I was a teenager, and I have lost a lot of friends along the way. The friends who I had as a boy, some stay in touch, but most have families and lives of their own. The people who I studied with in college now have careers that have taken them across the world. Even former work colleagues, many stay connected via social media, but seldom few do I speak with in person or by phone.
When I was a teenager, I threw my arm over the shoulders of friends who I thought I could hold onto forever, thinking, “No one can come between us. Nobody’s going to break our friendship.”
But, it turned out that those invincible bonds were not broken or separated by anything or anyone.
We nurtured one another and we lifted each other up. We helped our friends change into who they wished to be, all the while, unaware that we were aiding in the growth that would eventually separate us.
Those invincible bonds simply weren’t strong enough to contain the constructive changes occurring from within.
Shaun Savarese is a former reporter with The Daily Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.