I remember July 21, 2007 so vividly that it could have happened yesterday. My high school graduation was the week before, but it the end of another period in my life had me too anxious to focus on the freedom of summer and college. I grew up with Harry Potter - 11 years old when I first read Sorcerer’s Stone. When Harry was an angsty teenager - I was an angsty teenager. When Harry was competing in the TriWizard Tournament, I was wrestling in state tournaments. When Harry was learning to Apperate, I was learning to parallel park. I felt, and still feel, as if I knew the classrooms, corridors, and secret passageways of Hogwarts as well as I did my own High School. No, my school didn’t have secret passageways that lead to a neighboring village. 

I was so excited and nervous to learn what the fate of my friends was going to be. Remember when those images leaked online of each page in the book? I literally had to unplug my computer to avoid spoilers! Not sure if I could still do that today, mind you. 

Since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released I moved away from home, started a College Quidditch team, graduated from college, taught 4th grade art class, met the girl of my dreams, become best friends with and married that girl, been paid to launch the Snap Chat account for Walt Disney World, and saved up to buy a house with a white picket fence that keeps a golden retriever from running off after chipmunks. 

I have gone from a dorky 17 year old to a full-blown dorky grown up but not once did Harry Potter ever leave my side. I have multiple copies of each book that are regularly read. I listen to the wonderful Jim Dale audiobooks in my car, to and from work everyday. I incorporated 'Where your treasure is, there will be your heart, also' into my wedding vows and even honeymooned at The Wizarding World in Universal Studios (I told you she was my best friend). 

The world that J.K Rowling created will forever be a part of my life, and when I look back on just how nervous I was at 17 about it all ending and losing so many friends, it’s another reminder of how much I’ve grown. Those we love never truly leave us.

"This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal." She really could not have picked a more fitting passage for the opening of the close.

I hope you enjoy my Snap Chat story from July 21st. If you want to see some more Potterhead snaps that show how dorky I still am, add me: MPLATCO