Every now and then I’ll be reminded of just how old I’m getting.

I mean, I’m 27, so I’m not going to act like I’m ancient now, but I’m just not a kid anymore. That’s a bummer.

I visited a friend of mine, Tim, earlier this week — I’ve mentioned him in a previous column. He’s my ride-or-die friend, and he stood by my side in one of the multiple times where I’ve had a gun pulled on me. More of that later.

I wanted to see him because it had been a while, and he leaves next month for a two-year stint in Boise, Idaho. Tim’s one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever known, and I’ve known him for more than 20 years.

He’s a music teacher at a high school in Georgia, and he’s moving to join Boise State’s master’s program. Tim’s a trumpet player, and he’s performed and taught with drum corps programs all around the world.

But, I remember first playing music with him in my garage at 16 years old. Learning punk rock covers for talent shows and birthday parties — eventually we progressed to heavy metal, and we played hundreds of shows across the Southeast.

It’s weird now. My best friends are all spread out across Alabama and the United States, and I guess I’m starting to realize that we aren’t as connected as we used to be. We’re still friends on Facebook and we’ll laugh and text and remind each other of inside jokes, but it’s not the same.

But still, growing up has allowed me to develop new friendships and meet tons of new people. I moved to Fort Payne just over a year ago. I think I was pulling double-duty as sports editor last May — a lot has changed in a year — and I’ve just enjoyed being a part of this community.

I see the same people all the time out at different events and meetings, and there are people that I always look forward to talking to.

This is a community that loves its own, but has always been welcoming to us outsiders, too. You have to be.

It is still fun to reminisce with those old friends, and tell stories about growing up and touring and playing music, and all of those ridiculous memories made as a teenager and into my early 20s — there are so many. I could honestly write a book.

But, I guess growing up means looking forward to making those new memories with new friends, too.

So, if you see me in public, and recognize me — I still look like the photo above except in color — introduce yourself. Who knows? You may be my next ride-or-die friend.

The space is open now.

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