I'm not sure I've ever used the phrase "I think we're growing apart." It feels like what is mostly said is "we grew apart." It's one of those things that happens before you know it's happened. Kind of like falling in love, or out of love for that matter.
Christmas of 2009 I was at home visiting my mother. I still lived in DC at the time and so trips back home were still a big deal. Not only did I need to spend time with my mother, but I also had to make time for various friends -- especially the ones from high school.
I vividly remember sitting in a friend's living room watching 6-7 people pass around a blunt and it suddenly hitting me like a ton of bricks: we've grown apart.
It wasn't so much that they were smoking weed. I don't have a problem with that, I've done it, several of my friends do it. But it was that that particular night marked 3 nights in a row that I sat in one spot and watched the same 6-7 people get high. Their lives and my life just weren't on the same wavelength and it hurt to realize that.
These were people that I spent my formative years with. I started to learn who I was while I knew them. I got in trouble with them. I made lifelong memories with them. A few in the room were people that I thought I'd always know and would always be apart of my life. When I imagined my wedding day (back when I still thought I wanted to have one) some of those faces were faces I anticipated seeing in my bridal party.
And then suddenly I knew, just like I knew my name and date of birth, that it wouldn't be. And it had nothing to do with us being cool. We just weren't on the same page in life and it sucked.
Around that same time I saw a friend who told me I thought I was better than everybody else. It hurt because I've always prided myself on NOT being that person. On knowing that I was smart, but not being an asshole about it. At first I took her comment to mean that I hadn't been as good at being inclusive as I thought, but after I processed what she said and the context in which she said it, I realized that her words had very little to do with me and so much to do with her. But even still, it was strong evidence of our growth apart. When she saw me, she saw failure in herself -- and how could I be friends with someone in that place?
If you've never experienced this, trust that you will. Growth is certainly what makes life, life and people just grow differently -- and sometimes that differently means away from one another. It is a painful experience when it happens with someone or people that you've grown to love and expected would always be around. But eventually you realize it has a purpose. Some people have to move out of the way so new people can come in and be great for you at the right time.
My 10 year high school reunion is next year and I'm eagerly anticipating reuniting and reminiscing. But I also know that once the reunion is over, we'll all go back to our present lives with our present people. We'll hang up our friendships until the next reunion and I'm ok with that.