The Criticism

thomas slatin - camp chateaugay - 004

When I was a young boy, age 14, a group of my friends vowed to be friends forever and always no matter what.  It was the end of the summer, 1993.  Years went by and I would receive letters in the mail on an almost weekly basis, and every so often a phone call.

By 1998, when the Internet was still in its infancy and America On-Line was all the rage, the handwritten letters became emails and my friends would chat with me over the Internet constantly.  All through college the phone calls kept coming; I was the one friend in my circle of friends who held on to my friendships, refusing to let go, yet always willing to be the advice and support giver or the shoulder to cry on in the middle of the night when my friends, “didn’t know who else to call.”

Then one day it all stopped.  My friends had all grown up, moved away, and started lives of their own completely disregarding the friendship promises we swore by during the summer of 1993 when we were at summer camp.

I kept my promise all these years and the piece I wrote was a message to all my friends know that if they are willing to forget about our friendship and all of the experiences we shared that the time has come for me to finally let go and move on.  Of course it hurts me deeply but by no means am I desperately in search of friendship.  Angie is all I need, and I suspect that most of the people I used to know are in similar relationships and probably feel the same way.

In the days of our youth, we create picture perfect plans of how our lives will be in the future, who we will fall in love with and marry, where we will live, what our career path will look like, etc.  And yet as we get older, the reality sets in that in life the majority of our best made plans never come to pass, and that often times we must sacrifice some of the things we want for those things that we really need.  Nothing in life is ever certain, so as we grow older our plans and ideas become more abstract.

With responsibility comes maturity, and in adulthood the two qualities play an equally important and integral part of our self-preservation and decision making.  Still to this day I remember stressing and worrying over my high school chemistry final which was a two-week independent study project dealing with balancing-out chemical reactions on paper, while at the same time, building jet-powered boats out of soda bottles powered by baking soda and acid. My boat bottle exploded come final testing day after two weeks of sleepless nights.  I failed my final exam and the resulting anxiety and nervousness led me to think that I wouldn’t be able to graduate, and summer school would never have been an option.

I graduated after all despite my final exam fail.

The problems we face in life only get more difficult and obscure as time goes on, and they aren’t always as apparent and as obvious as the problems we faced in the days of our youth.  Just as our plans, problems, and their solutions only become more and more abstract as we slowly grow old.


  • Sanjay

    This is exactly what I just overcame in my life. I do have friends I thought who will be with me forever but who don’t even bothered to know where I live now. It is true.. that life gets tougher and we just learn to fight harder. Adaptation to change is what we require. This post totally echoed my mind. 🙂

    • Thomas

      When I was younger, the world truly was a much different place. The pace of life was slower, people had more patience, and in general, everyone had at least a handful of friends to share their growing-up years with. Children of today live in a completely different world, a world that I could never imagine growing up in.

      Today it seems that there is no such thing as friendship. It is my belief that children of today are taught to be the best no matter what, and by teaching children this way, they will form short-term almost casual relationships with many of their peers instead of a small group of lifetime friends.

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