The safety net is gone.
Gone were the days of using the university grounds as an excuse to escape. The final years of catching us when we fall, and that was it. We are on our own in the real world — picking ourselves up even if we had to do it on ice, hearing “pay day” is bliss to our ears, and finding time to ourselves becomes harder to fit into the schedule.
We treat ourselves sometimes because we realise the need to comfort our souls after a long day. Impulse buying hits when our salaries arrive, followed by tears at the figure(s) at the bottom of our monthly bank statement. We promise ourselves that we will try to save, only for the cycle to repeat itself.
It doesn’t stop there.
Losing touch with people you once sat next to in class every day for a year became easy. We get too comfortable assuming we know everything from Facebook updates or the silence of one’s wall. “Long time no see” and “I miss you” texts take up the memory space in your phone, as you leave them unread or have read them by accident and forget to respond. One day, you bring yourself to question the meaning of some people in your life — especially those who pop out of nowhere because they want something you have. Of course, you’re obliged to say “yes” to whatever favour they ask for because that’s what friends do, right?
You jealously scroll through your timeline seeing some of your school friends still going strong, and then wonder what you may have done wrong. What could you have done differently? Was it because you stopped initiating the conversation? Are you annoying? Were you too consumed by your need to be alone? Did you not understand them well?
The questions are endless, the answers even more so.
Eventually, you meet new people as you attempt to fill up the spaces left by the previous tenants. You reassure yourself that they are wonderful, and that change is good and necessary. You find yourself asking them out more often over coffee, or offer to bring them to your happy place that only few know about.
Conversations become less of who-said-what-about-whom. “What’s in the news?” and How To Manage Your Money 101 became inevitable topics with the occasional BuzzFeed updates for the days where we decide to see what’s trending. Perhaps throw in discussions about those one-minute cooking shows that you will never really get into because you realise you’re too tired to go to the grocer nearby.
Sooner or later, your past returns to haunt you. It turns out Friend A knows Friend B. It seemed more challenging to invite some people out separately — in fact, you foresee more harm than good. You try to maintain the balance. You really do, but behind your back, they’ve been hanging out without extending the invite. What more at the place where you introduced them.
Tomorrow, you wake up and realise how much you want to spend time with the people around you. Your willingness to clear your schedule because you want to bring them out to your / their favourite place. Your genuine concern when they’re at their lowest point. It is about how you feel that special connection, and how much you’d love to hold on to it because you believe in its long-term doings. At the end of the day, one can only hope that the right choices have been made.
The safety net is gone. It is your duty to fix up a new one — and do it well.