If things had been different, I would have graduated this past weekend. I would have completed four years at the college I still think is the best school in the whole world. I would have been a college graduate, heading out to face the "real world".
Things aren't different though, and I didn't graduate. It's been two and a half years since finances fell apart and God very clearly showed me the door on everything I'd been planning on and come to love in that year and a half at my school. Things aren't different and it took me a solid year and then some to get my life back together. It was only just this past August that I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life and went back to school at my community college, which is nice and I do like it, but will never be what North Central College was to me. Maybe I'm not giving it a chance, but in my heart it will never compare. It's where I know I'm supposed to be, I am happy but there's still a good portion of my heart that wishes things had been different.
I have to wonder if this is what a break up feels like. The shock of being told that things aren't working out any more, that you both need space and maybe a little down the road it will work out again. You spend a lot of time crying, hurting and slowly realize that it's never going to work out again. You visit one time, but it hurts to much so instead for a long time you block out any memories that you had. You can't even hang out in the places where you used to hang out, and when you try you end up sobbing your eyes out in the car on the way there and after you leave.
But eventually it gets a little easier. You realize that all of a sudden you can remember the fun times you used to have together, it's alright to look at pictures again, you can even visit once or twice. Oh there's still times when it hurts like heck, and you know there will always be a piece left with you, but it gets easier to live with.
I wanted to go to what could have, maybe should have, been my graduation, but that thing called work got in the way and I couldn't. Maybe it's better that way. If I learned one thing from that one episode of How I Met Your Mother, it's that you don't go to an ex's wedding. I thought that if I went and got to watch the ceremony, see all the people who were my classmates walk across the stage and move on with their lives I could let it go, completely, at last. Maybe, if things had been different.
But once again, they weren't. And once again, it hurts. But now, maybe, I'll be better at letting it go.