I meant to send you a letter, but this will have to suffice.

Hello good friend,

First, congratulations. Now on the first page of the next big chapter in your life, I invite you to reflect with me on the person I’ve witnessed you become over the last five (!) years.

When we first met as guileless young adults in the halls of Johnson, I would not have immediately foreseen the paths of our lives aligning in such a profound way. We certainly shared many laughs, joys and tears as roommates during our formative college years.

We’ve experienced broken door hinges, ping pong balls, the Four Loko challenge, chicken wings, Tuesdays, fishbowl confrontations, Pink Floyd albums, train rides, Sprite devils, heartbreaks, dance parties, late night dining hall trips, 7-story stair races, birthdays, spills, sunsets, ice cream sandwiches, loud bass amps, sing-a-longs, hockey games, power outages, shouting, lasting friends, love and laughter, rooftop sitting, flatrock swimming and all sorts of other shenanigans. Each one of these experiences has enhanced our growth as people.

Your tell-it-how-it-is attitude toward others has always been a refreshing outlook. On the outside, you certainly exuded confidence. You never cared what others thought of you, whether that meant honking at slow elderly drivers or calling out your friends’ thoughtless acts.

After spending many hours with you and the gang partying and pondering life, I realized that despite your outward confidence, you were a young man filled with inner turmoil; tortured with questions of identity. Who am I, who will I become, how am I perceived by the people I care about?

I can undoubtedly say that you are no longer that person. While many answers in life can never be answered with absolute certainty, you’ve certainly identified who you are, what you value in life and where you see yourself in the future, and I’m extremely proud of you for it.

I was there to witness a great deal your growth, and hopefully helped inspire it in part. I’m proud of you for taking this big leap, and despite the physical distance between us, you’ll never be far from my heart. All the best for our futures together-while-apart. Until next time,