A little less than a year after graduating from college, my friends and I decided that we should start writing a traveling notebook together, chronicling our post-graduate adventures that have taken us separate ways. (Obviously, our idea was loosely inspired by the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie/book.)
Since there were ten of us participating in this project, we decided on two notebooks that would rotate around. They would travel around the country in alphabetical order, and each person was supposed to keep the notebook for a week and mail it on.
Well, our pace has slowed, but over two years later, the notebooks are still going!
And boy, what have these notebooks seen: interviews, first jobs, resignations, unemployment, underemployment, promotions, heartbreak & breakups, engagements, new boyfriends, applications, a whole slew of post-graduate degrees (DPT, MSW, JD, MA, MS, and a soon to be PhD and MD), published authors, tears, laughter, struggles, questions, friendship bracelets, mix CDs, Irish bookmarks, cross-country and cross-continent moves, apartments, and SO many address changes.
Life has kept us from being in the same physical place over these past few years, but the notebook has helped to remember that we’re all still navigating this winding road together. It doesn’t make it less difficult that we aren’t all actually together, but it does sweeten the blow a little bit.
It takes awhile for the notebooks to travel these days; something about life getting in the way. So, by the time the notebook arrives, I usually already know most of the things in it; very little in it surprises me these days. But that doesn’t stop the excitement I feel when I see that familiar package in my mailbox.
The fact of the matter is, I don’t live in the same place as most of my best friends anymore, and I probably never will again. They have scattered all over this country, and soon I’m going to be scattering even further with my impending move for graduate school. But the notebook makes me feel less scattered. There’s a beauty in realizing your relationships are dependent on more than proximity to each other, that they go deeper than just the superficial things.
In a time and age, when I can text and send snapchats and post Facebook messages, the notebooks make me feel grounded. It’s delayed gratification at it’s finest, when I have to wait a few months to read the words someone wrote about something unsettled and know that it’s now settled. I can read about people feeling lonely and know that then that all changed. I can flip back through their pages and remember who we’ve been before and where we came from, and I can know that I will continue to be supported by them. The notebook feels permanent when the rest of life feels transient.
And I’m so incredibly grateful for these ladies and the ways they continue to make their presence known in my life.