I don't know whether it's the fact that I just celebrated my 28th birthday, that a number of my friends turned 30 this year or that my brother is now an official adult, but I've come to the realization that things are never going to be the same.
But I've also realized that's a good thing - as long as you remember your past.
There are many life lessons I have learned from my parental units, but this one might be the one I have seen first hand for virtually my entire life.
When I was growing up, my dad played on a softball team. And I'm not just talking about playing a few games a week at Packard Park, I'm talking about playing three nights at Packard and numerous tournaments throughout the state during the summer. Between all the players, girlfriends/wives and their children, they were my second family.
But it didn't start that way. It started as a bunch of guys who used to play baseball together, and it evolved into a softball team. Pretty soon, the girlfriends that used to come and watch were now their wives, and eventually children came into the picture.
One of my fondest memories was one summer, I was probably 5 or 6, at yet another tournament. All the parents were by the pool, probably listening to the Isley Brothers, taking in the rays in between games. All the kids were either in the pool or taking naps but having a grand old time on vacation. It was a comfortable, family setting.
Fast forward to now. The softball team is not playing anymore. All the kids are now grown up, many with children of their own. But that hasn't stopped them from recreating the past from time to time.
The group, fondly known as the Satellite Lounge crew, tries to pull off a get-together once a year. It usually consists of an all-day picnic, then sitting around a bonfire listening to music from "the old days" and telling old stories. Just like back in 1987.
Seeing how my parents' group of friends has been able to come back together, relive the old days and still know that the friendships have not faded, has made me wish that I one day will have that kind of bond with my group of friends.
Well, the day has come.
A few weeks back, it was my friend Jay's 30th birthday. And in what seems like the going trend in my group, a celebration was in order. But it was not the party that put a smile on my face, it was the fact that at that moment, we were back to the old days.
Now mind you, back in the day, we were unstoppable. You could find us most Thursdays at The Mill, which used to be the Silver Dollar Saloon. And Club 1742. And I guess now The Wedge? I don't know. It changes names every week. And of course, Fridays meant a trip to Bailey's. Our group had a healthy mix of guys and girls, though the debate was always out on which group I fit in best with. For a few summers in the early part of this decade, we were untouchable.
Back to 2009. After the initial shindig, we decided a little dancing was in order, which was always a favorite pastime in my group. And at that moment, watching my boys act like fools on the dance floor, my girlfriends and I standing by knowing that everyone in the entire place was staring at us and knowing that we didn't care, sent me back to the "old days." It felt like 2000. I realize it's not that long ago, but when you think of everything that has changed, it was nice, just for a bit, to go back into time.
All I could do for those hours was smile and remember. Yes, we live everywhere across the country. Yes, some of us are married, have children and have lives and jobs that keep us very busy. But every once in a while, I have what my parents have - a group of friends that will never forget where we came from, or how we used to roll.
And, knowing my friends, it's not going to stop anytime soon.
Sulonen is a sports writer at the Tribune. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org