There is a certain melancholy to growing up.

The realization you’re maturing, improving and evolving. You’re not the same person you were at fourteen. When problems you have now seemed improbable then. When goals you had then seem so close now. When life now seems almost bizarre.

You can’t help but to look back at our past sometimes, just to look towards our future. You have to think of the future when you're at the cusp of adulthood. When you are no longer the child in the past but an adult with a future. I don’t want to think of the future just yet. There's so much to live for in the present.

After all, I’m only seventeen.

I recently had dinner with my friends, many I’ve known for almost four years now. They were about twenty of us here, many left out from the photos (sorry guys). Attached by the hip through a dramatic society. Dramatic children with big dreams and even bigger hearts. Hence in clusters, we’re so boisterous, childish and human. Laughing loudly from stories told and jokes going farther then they should.

We meet sporadically throughout the year, just to hang out and be together. It’s inevitable you become close. When you've known them for so long, most have been through important points of your teenage life. You develop together.

The persistent theme of our future loomed over our heads. University, Work, Life. We would never have discussed this at fourteen. We would discuss boy bands and school. But we’re young adults now, with our future at our fingertips. We have the future to look forward to. University, Work, Life. 

This is the now, and we are so different. We’re older. We’ve settled into our features and young adulthood. We become more realistic. Another word for cynical. Perhaps that’s just me. I consider myself an optimist but nowadays, I’m not quite sure. Growing up means being unsure of many things.

Many of us are still in school, many of us have graduated, and many of us have left. Most of my friends are working, or furthering their studies abroad or traveling to unknowns. I’m still here. In my bedroom, typing away at 11 PM and hoping I’ll still be attentive enough to finish my History homework later.

I shouldn’t be so focused on the future while I still have the present. My present is heaps of homework I’m avoiding and the friends I don’t want to forget. The friends I can't forget. To friends I cried goodbyes, and to friends I never said goodbye. When you grow older, you say goodbyes more often, and some of them become the last.

To my friends, I bid you adieu but never goodbye. We will see each other again, probably in a week or two. Relaxing and eating as we always do. Perhaps then, we may forget about our future.

These are the moments I want to remember.

Being silly, stupid and young. Laughing loudly from stories told and jokes going farther than they should. Forgetting how vast and empty the future is and just focus on the present.

When we’re together and nothing else matters. When I can see excitement and joy in their eyes just by being here. When we aren’t so caught up in the future and we could see what we have now. And what I have now is an amazing cluster of friends.

So cheers to friends. Those who stayed, those who left, and those who will leave. To friends who are starting their own businesses and finding success. To friends who will travel far off and have adventures of small grandeur. To friends who find new love but will never leave the old.

Cheers to us, and let’s drink to adulthood.

P.S Thank you Wafaa for taking most of these photos. I want that camera. And thank you Saf for reading the first draft. You're a beautiful proof-reader.