It was just another Saturday night. As I waited in my car to pick up my friends for a night out, I opened Instagram to pass the time. On my feed, I suddenly saw the post that informed me Matthew Perry died.
I couldn’t believe it. I started watching “Friends” when I was in middle school. I found comfort in it. Just a few months ago, my dad and I had a “pivot” moment while moving me into my new house for this school year.
Those who are fans of “Friends” likely know the scene of all the characters in the show attempting to move a couch up a corner of the stairs, and the character Ross repeatedly yelling “pivot.”
Well, as my dad and I carried my bed up the stairs and had to maneuver around a corner, we both said “pivot” and burst into laughter from remembering that scene from “Friends.”
Later that night of Perry’s death, a friend at a party asked if I liked horror movies. My immediate response was to share a memory of how my dad, my older brother and I would watch scary movies.
The memory I shared was about one night, when I was in middle school, I woke up and all of my stuffed animals in my room were displaced. It freaked me out, so I slept on the couch for a week. I thought my brother was just playing his tricks on me to scare me, but he never admitted that he did it.
To this day it’s a mystery. Though now, I don’t have the ability to ask him.
Was he trying to scare me? Did I do it in my sleep? We may never know.
The next day, as I scrolled through memorial posts of Perry and thought about how I’ll never get an answer to my question, it made me realize how humans tend to not realize the impact people make in our lives until they are gone. Until we don’t have them here making us laugh, giving us comfort or playing tricks on us that we will soon appreciate as we get older.
Life is funny that way. It’s always teaching us a lesson, whether it’s good or bad. Time is one of them.
When we’re young, we feel like we have all the time in the world. But then suddenly we’re not kids anymore, and the more we lose in life, the more precious time feels.
As flawed humans who are unable to see the future, we think we have forever with family and friends in our lives who bring us joy and make us who we are.
It’s always the little things we end up missing that, at the time, we overlooked. The way they would annoy you and interrupt you when you’re busy. They way they would give you comfort just by their presence.
It’s important to stop and take time to appreciate the people in our lives that make life a little bit easier to go through.
At the end of the day, it’s the tiny actions people do that make the biggest impact.
It can be the tiny actions of a character in a show making you laugh and giving you joy; or your brother playing tricks on you to remind you that he’s there for you.
Either way, those tiny actions leave an impact on us. It gives us memories to cherish and to look back on, bonding moments with others.
So, take advantage of the joy and comfort people in your life bring to you, because one day, before you know it, it’ll just be a memory.
Natalie Fitzgibbons (she/her) is a junior studying journalism with a minor in American studies. She hopes to inspire people with her words and make a positive impact in people’s lives and the world.