Tuesday, October 23, 2012

make your own way

During our month-long US visit I was able to catch up with an old friend who I hadn't seen in 15 years.  Jan was the first friend I made when I started high school.  During freshman year we were two peas in a pod; I had nine earrings and was fond of braiding my hair in all sorts of interesting arrangements while Jan had waist length hair that was often dyed in all colors of the rainbow. The two of us began spending almost every waking hour together.  We spend lunch time painting and sketching.  We had sleepovers almost every weekend where we would go swimming at the beach or lie in my back yard and talk about all sorts of random things.  Then we started to grow apart during our sophomore year when I chose running as my drug of choice for school pressures and she chose...well, drugs.

When I last saw her she was mostly living out of her car, occasionally stopping off at my place or her sister's to do laundry.  She had a steady job at a book store that could have paid for a small apartment but she preferred the nomadic existence.  She told me that she was going to drive across the country to find herself.

Fifteen years later Jan and I ran met up in San Francisco, where she ended up after her long drive.  She still lives out of her car when not spending time staying with an older brother in Oakland.  She is still trying to find herself.  She showed me a large pile of books in her car that consisted of philosophy, psychology and mystical writings.  I don't know what she's looking for but maybe it's time to stop searching.  Maybe it's time for you to write your own book, I told her.  With all of this time that she's spent looking, I bet she has enough information to compile her own story.  Maybe it's time to start creating herself.

On the plane ride home I thought a lot about the two of us.  She had so many dreams while I hardly thought about my future.  I didn't know what I wanted for myself and still don't in many ways.  So much could have gone wrong but somehow it all worked out.  I met my best friend, Tobin, only because she was interested in the boy who sat next to me in pottery class.  I was fortuitously exposed to architecture through a required arts elective.  I met SB during a small window of opportunity when he was walking by and saw me in my room unpacking my suitcase.  Aside from cruising the bars with my college girlfriends I can't say that I've really gone looking for anything.  But I am an opportunist and I have definitely snatched up anything good that has found me.  Maybe Jan was too busy looking into the horizon and she missed the good stuff.  Or maybe her happy ending is still yet to come.  I don't know.

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