Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh, The Places You Will Go

I think there's something about weddings that makes you reflect on your life, the choices you made and the people who influenced you along the way. Choosing bridesmaids and others to be involved in the wedding, for example, makes you remember all the times those people were there for you, how they supported you, and all that you've been through together.

I feel lucky to still be close with people I grew up with, and after decades of friendship, it's incredible to see how our lives have grown and changed. One of my best friends, a girl I've known since I was 10 years old, is pregnant with triplets right now. Whoa! Another girl I grew up with had her first baby a few months ago, another just had her second, and another spent the past two years living in London and traveling through Europe with her wonderful husband. These are girls that I used to play "Power Princess" with, roll houses with, and daydream about what our husband would be like, what our lives would be like as grown-ups.

I have friends who became doctors, lawyers, academics, and when you take a moment and look back at it all, it's amazing to see how it all came together, how we got here from there. Nothing is more humbling or awe-inspiring than to truly know someone and watch their evolution.

Of course, some friends I've lost touch with, but it's always fun to hear what happened to them. Facebook is great for that, right? I've re-connected with a few friends and now see pictures and updates about their children and careers. It's very cool.

Recently, I visited an old friend in LA and got to meet the love of his life, and I got it immediately - they fit together like they really were made for each other. He's in grad school now and wants to teach public speaking, he's teaching a group of high schoolers now in an after school program. Crazy that the guy who used to steal booster seats from fast food restaurants is now shaping the minds of America's youth! And another friend of ours from high school is on a show on the Disney Channel! The guy who used to tell the dirtiest jokes I've ever heard is on a show for kids!

Last night, MG and I went to a small concert with some friends. Oddly, and for the first time in years, I saw the Asshole Ex-Boyfriend. I caught him out of the corner of my eye a couple times, but he ducked and dodged, and then I got a good enough look to tell that yes, it was him. He looked awful. Shorter and fatter than I remember, with a frumpy girl with cheap highlights. The worst, though, was that he looked so dull and ordinary. I guess we're all ordinary, but seeing him was just so jarring - this was the guy that I loved so much I let him treat me like shit for years? Really? It's like learning that monster you were afraid of for so many years was just a shadow in your closet.

I don't know what his life is like, I imagine he still talks about leaving a job he'll never have the guts to leave or starting a business he'll never start or moving to a town he'll never move to. Maybe he's happy, I hope he is, and in fact, I'm sure he is, but it's so incredible to see how people's lives turned out just the way they wanted that it is sad if anyone's life isn't what they want it to be. I hope he's happy and changed. And I'm happy I don't have a clue.

After the show, we went up to talk to a friend who got heckled by the musician because he knows her. We teased her because he kept telling her she wasn't singing or smiling enough. She's one of those people that always knew what they wanted, what they were good at, and made the life she imagined. Really cool girl.

And I also saw a friend from high school. Probably the nicest person I've ever met. I haven't seen him in close to fifteen years, but as soon as we saw each other, we remembered that old friendship and the fun times we had immediately. He lives in LA now and was at the show because he's the promotions director for the record label. In high school, I remembered we both loved The Counting Crows. It seemed like almost every week, he'd come to school wearing a shirt from one of their concerts. So inspiring to see someone who always wanted to work in music made that dream come true.

I think everyone in my life, past and present, is inspiring. There are people and stories we remember as morality tales, reminding us to always buckle our seatbelt so we don't have a bad car crash like that one friend, to work hard and try hard unlike our friend who dropped out of college and works at the mall, to love with all our heart and cherish our partner because we know that couple in the bad marriage or the guy who got left at the altar.

I always focus on the good things, there is so much good, and there certainly are a lot of people in my life who've overcome so much, who accomplished what they set out to do, who are living their dreams - there are those who teach us how not to live and those who inspire us to live more like them. I hope I am a part of the latter because I truly am blessed and surrounded by many who are. God bless good friends! Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold!


CarrieAnn said...

Uh oh...I'm that friend that dropped out of coLlege and now works at the mall. But I like it!

The Counting Crows rock; they remind me of my college boyfriend, and even if their music sucked, I would listen to them just for that reason.

Penny Lane said...

Haha that's the point - you're happy! And you're an awesome mother to a clever, hilarious little girl.

It's amazing, isn't it, how music is sooo connected to memory? There are definitely songs that I can't stand but love because they make me remember something. And The Counting Crows do totally rock.

Date Girl said...

Music and memory as almost as connected as smell and memory. I still can't smell curve cologne without thinking of my first boyfriend.

It is always so strange to run into exes. It feels like they should only exist in memory and its so weird to see them in person. You described it so well. Happy they are happy but so glad you have no clue!

Girl in Carolina said...

It's always good to see exes and feel good about it. And know they are in the past for a reason!

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