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I Was Just Thinking ‘Bout You

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

There are certain people that we meet at times in our lives to reaffirm our beliefs. For me, one of these individuals was a cancer patient that I met while volunteering. She was the sweetest woman with the same name as my childhood best friend. 

The first day that I met her, we discussed medical school and individual talents, as she was a writer and I am a researcher. Somewhere in that conversation, she brought up a specific teaching in psychology: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This theory was a favorite of my friend because it explained how needs that are deemed “higher,” such as love, belonging and self-esteem, cannot be accomplished without fulfilling “lower” needs, notably a feeling of safety and correct attachment to relationships in life.  I smiled widely as we conversed about the topic, and then I revealed to her that I had a friend I had not spoken to in a while who always referenced that bit of psychology in our conversations. She winked at me and said, “Well then, your friend must be saying hi.”

Following the day I met this patient, I called my childhood best friend.  Surprisingly, she picked up on the first ring and told me she was just thinking about me. While I don’t normally read too far into signs, I have realized that sometimes there are signs in your everyday life that can help lead you in the right direction.

Sometimes life gets so busy, and there are too many things to do in a day. It is understandable. Whether it is school, a job or extracurricular activities that bring people joy, the day quickly gets full of tasks to complete. There becomes less and less space for people not in your immediate circle. The people you used to see daily in high school become friends that you only text every other month. And sometimes, the people that you spend all your free time with become strangers as you slowly grow apart.

I understand that feeling all too well. Since graduating high school and even at the beginning of college, I have lost contact with many people that I was close to. Sometimes I can see a picture of them on social media and see them doing great things. Other times I see things in life that remind me of them and make me think that I should give them a call, which is not so different from that experience with the cancer patient.

A poignant example of this is a friend of mine from high school who loves Elvis. Throughout my first few years of college, I was reminded of her multiple times, whether it was through memories on social media, a nagging memory of one of the times we hung out or a reminder of her when the trailer for “Elvis” would appear on the screen. I kept telling myself that I would reach out to her once my next round of exams was completed or after I finished my next experiment in my research. But no matter how often I told myself I would call her after a task, something else popped up for me to do.

And then, I got a call from a mutual friend in the middle of the night telling me she had died.

That call brought up so many memories of times when I would say that I needed to call to check in on her, but I didn’t. When someone is truly gone, the reasons why you are too busy to call these people quickly become recognized as excuses. The saying that hindsight is 20/20 is never truer than when someone dies.

Time is something that you will never get more of. There will always be another exam, another television show to watch, another thing to do and another task that can’t wait. True wisdom comes from knowing and setting limits for yourself so that you are not doing something with the limited time you don’t want to do.

Having lost a friend I had lost contact with, I wonder now if all those memories that nagged me and the signs in front of me were God’s way of telling me that I needed to spend time with her before her time came. The answers to these questions will never be clear, and we must accept that. However, we do not have to accept the inability to make time for friends and family in the future.

There is an emotional maturity component to creating a work-life balance. Most of that maturity comes from realizing there will always be time for work, but there may not always be more time with the people you love. After realizing that, you will undoubtedly be willing to skip that extra hour of studying or delay that full day of research that you need to do to make time for those you love.

And even when you mess up and don’t make time for people before they go, you can still be reminded of them. From each Elvis song I hear on the radio or every time I remember one of my friend’s long-winded jokes, I remember what that patient at the cancer center told me.

Your friend must be saying hi.

Hi!! My name is Danielle McTigue and I am a biomedical engineering major at Saint Louis University! I'm originally from the St. Louis area, and I love reading, watching Netflix, and playing guitar (I've been playing since I was nine) in my spare time. I'm currently working in a tissue engineering lab and applying to medical schools in hopes of becoming a surgeon! I love the community of strong and diverse writers that Her Campus has created and look forward to contributing to it!