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By Valerie Guardiola

When I was twenty I thought I had a place. Even better than that, I knew I didn’t have a plan. I had tons of friends and we drank together, danced together, got high together. We made sure to hide the cans of beer we snuck into shows and worked our hardest to let people know that we knew the band, as lost as lost souls could get. Every night was a variation on others – drinking wine outside of coffee shops waiting for an open-mic to start, watching my best friend’s boyfriend’s band and having them dedicate a song to us, dancing to The Violent Femmes in my first apartment, laying in my queen sized bed, four to six people wide, imagining what the world would be like when we joined it. It was so messy and it hurt, but it felt like it was worth chasing. Even when I got my heart broken by some half-wit boy and decided to move to another city and start fresh at a new university, that was what I missed. That mess and that hurt and all of them. They were it.

When I was twenty-four I thought I had a place. Even better than that, I knew I didn’t have a plan. I had a group of friends I loved more furiously than I ever had loved before and we drank together, danced together, cried together because holy-shit our twenties were turning out to be so much harder than anyone ever told us they would be. Quarter-life crises, I realized, were definitely a thing and I noticed I was missing the hunger and excitement that I was fluent with when I was younger.

But, somehow, despite every tiny qualm I had with the world, every paper that needed writing, every heart that needed healing, every hand that needed holding, every fear that needed kindling, that was really it. They were really it.

When I was twenty-seven I thought I had a place. Even better than that, I knew I didn’t have a plan. I had enough friends to count on two hands, and my love for them was deep and fluctuated from month to month because you can’t like everyone all of the time, but you can certainly never not love them. We drank together, mostly, but it always felt different than in the years before. We danced together, during karaoke nights at the local bar and in the bedroom of some half-wit boy who started to steal my heart. We laughed together because holy-shit our early twenties were nothing compared to this but somehow we knew we were doing so well. We cried together because girls date boys and boys hurt girls and girls date girls and girls hurt girls and the world keeps going but its okay if it feels like its going to end every once in a while. We are all we have some times, most times. We’re it.

When I am thirty-something I hope I have a place. Even better than that, I hope I have a people. I hope I have a hunger and an excitement and a passion, and I hope you do too. I hope that I have someone to bring me flowers when I am thirty-five and its my birthday, and I hope that I can stop by your house to watch movies on a Wednesday night because, despite what our relationship status’ might be, you are still one of my people and oh god no one told us that thirty-five was as hard as this. I hope that we are each other and that there are no more half-wit boys to make us cry, and that the girl who broke your heart once will never break it again and if she does I will help you find the pieces. I hope that we will help each other find our pieces. I hope that we are still all we have. I hope that we are it.

We’re all we’ve got.

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