Oh spring, a time for cleaning, commencement ceremonies and couples clambering to the altar. I need to do the first, am going to do the second and am surrounded by dozens of people doing the third. With all this busyness swirling about and marketing campaigns suggesting I throw out the old in favor of the new, I’ve stopped to take a little bit of inventory on my life.

Some things are going great. I feel really positively about my new vitamin habit. My thesis is getting quantifiably better with each draft. I’m making deliberate attempts to not wallow on my couch all the time, and I even did 40 pushups the other day. These things are great.

One area that’s had me thinking a lot, though, is friends. One of my former roommates and I used to joke about having reached our friend quota. It was kind of true at that point. We had just graduated college and were still in touch with all the people we knew from school. We moved across the country together (back to my hometown, but still), where we found hordes of 20-somethings who had also gone West to be friends with. I had something to do every night of the week, and I literally don’t think I had time for a single other relationship.

All that changed when I moved to Chicago. I only knew one person here, and he is a very busy person and self-proclaimed to be the opposite of the social butterfly I had become. It was lonely and brutal. I had three months before school started, and I was flat broke, which just makes everything worse. I started meeting some people who all promised we would hang out; that we would be friends; that they understood what I was dealing with. It’s been 10 months, and I have yet to hear from a single one of them, even though I’ve seen them in casual situations since. They were at their friend quota.

The people I ended up becoming close to (Don’t worry, I’m not still a sad hermit person.) were the other people who had just moved away from their lives: my classmates. We bonded over thesis work, academic pretension and the misery of the Chicago winter. Now, though, we’re nearing the end and many of them will be moving again, back to their normal lives.

I’ll still be here, and as I make yet another transition, I want to be mindful of the friend quota mentality. That’s why I’m writing it down. I need to remember the times I was all alone, so when I see someone who’s all alone, I can try to be a friend. Because that’s what I want. Do unto others, kids. It’s the golden rule for a reason.

Now, onto that apartment cleaning and wedding gift shopping…