Growing up….

Flipflops tapped on a bright red porch while fingers fluttered over the laptops as two friends from the Register-Guard filled out their unemployment forms on my rickety craigslist freebie patio set.

A couple of giggles were spread between furrowed brows as the pair answered each question on the forms. When it was completed, my friend Whit said, “I feel like I’ve grown up a lot today.”

Whitney, Andrea, Adam, Jim… the names, my friends, good journalist. Nix that Great journalist, who are all “standing” in the unemployment line, wondering where it will take them.

Sitting on the porch 70 days out from the death of my own career, I completely agreed with Whit. I barely remember what it feels like to be the Amanda who ran my life on June 7.

Growing up is so much fun when you are 9 and you are so incredibly ready to be a double digit, but at twenty-five growing up is about the lessons you learn and the strength you find in the trials you survive.

Three years ago today my greatest friend, Bret Ahler, left this world. 

Talk about growing up.

It was 16 days after my friend Toni got married, 24 days before I started my internship at the Seattle Times (my first time living away from home) and 147 day before my grandfather (the greatest man I’ve ever known) abruptly passed away.

1096 days of growing up. 

I was just a fresh faced baby before the August of 2006. My life had had it’s bumps, it’s bruises, but I had no clue what fate had in store.

I learned how you could cry until you were empty, and that the void left was hard to fill.

I learned that one day, completely out of the blue, you would really laugh again.

I came to realize that friends, good ones, are just as important as family.

I no longer take life for granted, I try to live every day like it could be my last, because it could.

Regret was a feeling I never had before August 2006. After, I learned it was the worst feeling there is. I strive now to never leave a single word unsaid, or a hug for the next time.

I grew up. I suppose the little green caterpillar of my youth has changed in the last three years into the strong bright butterfly of my future.


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