People change. It's the inevitable, like characters leaving your favorite TV show.
Maybe they get fired for bad behavior or get a better deal acting in a different show. Maybe there's an unexpected plot twist and that character chooses to leave. Maybe you just cut them off completely because they chose to move abroad.
Yet your story moves on. With a different setting, different characters and a different plot to keep the viewers on their toes.
Characters leave, and sometimes there is no logical explanation for their departure. They no longer play a part in your story, so you have to cast new people to take over their parts.
Most characters from the pilot episode don't end up in the season finale -- and I've finally realized that's OK. Because as much as I hate to admit it, I've changed far more than my high school friends.
I'm no longer the girl I used to be, and I couldn't be happier about it. Sometimes my brain wanders down memory lane, and it hits me that I've become almost completely unrecognizable.
This year, my limits were tested and my heart got broken.
The "that will never happen to you" scenario that once seemed so surreal turned out to become my reality after all. I lost friends I thought I could always count on.
But, as clichéd as it may sound, the darkest times are what change and shape you into the person you are today.
So for those of you reading this who are feeling what I feel, I want you to know that if you've changed more than all your high school friends, I strongly applaud you.
It's perfectly fine that your life is in a different season or episode than your high school friends'. It just means you've written a different scenario for yourself, one that fits the person you've become.
Maybe you've moved to the big city. Maybe you got an exciting new job. Maybe you're at your happiest when single, while all your high school friends are married. But, honestly, who cares?
They no longer co-write your life, so it's completely up to you to get creative and write your own story, just like I did. I'm not proud of all my decisions. But do I wish I could take them back? Hell no.
Did I say and do the things I swore I'd never do? Yup, and I couldn't be prouder. Because that's what helped me grow and move on from the girl I once was. That's what's helped me take control of my own story and focus on its protagonist -- me.
I've become someone who isn't afraid to make mistakes and who isn't daunted by peer pressure.
I've become someone who doesn't lie and say, "I'm fine," when I really mean, "No, I'm not, but I will be." I've become someone who no longer bottles her feelings so deep that they wound her both physically and mentally.
Instead, I've transformed into a person who listens to her heart without completely ignoring her mind.
And while I may no longer have anything to discuss with my high school friends, I have plenty to talk about with my new friends. Because with every loss, I've gained something new.
And while I'm fully aware going home for the holidays will include awkward conversations with people I once was so close to, I know it's part of the package.
At the end of the day, each season of your life will change. Your lovers, your friends and the people you keep as extras in the background are likely to change as your plot changes -- and that's OK because you haven't figured everything out yet.
Life will keep testing your limits; life will keep surprising you and it will lead you to places you never thought you'd end up. And that's OK, too, because you're on a journey to become the best possible version of yourself -- and it requires you to change.
So, own the person you've become; be proud of the reflection looking back at you in the mirror.
You are no longer your high school self looking to fit in; you're someone who has finally learned they were born to stand out.