The paths not taken

standard June 30, 2010 5 responses

A Facebook update pops up. It’s by an old friend, an elementary school friend. He’s going on a kid free vacation with his wife and he’s delirious at the prospect of a few days alone with the woman he loves.

An old high school friend pings me over IM. He’s a zillion miles from where any of us ever expected him to be, doing relief work in a war zone. His joy and excitement comes through, even in the short choppy computer messages.

A close friend emails. She’s pregnant again. I’ve never met any of her children, but I’ve been with her every step of every pregnancy – those that ended well and those that didn’t. Her email bubbles with excitement, but I can detect the undertone of apprehension.

There might have been a time when I would have felt a stab of jealousy at witnessing their joy. One is living the adventurous life I always dreamed of, one is having the third child I croon to in my sleep, and the third, well. it’s not impossible that when we were kids I might have day dreamed of one day being his wife.

There was a time – not all at once – when these three people filled my days. Each at one point or another has been one of my closest friends. We parted ways – physically – for various reasons and I’m sad that they are no longer people I can hug at will. But knowing that our separate roads have taken us to respective happy places makes up for the “what ifs?” I sometimes experience.

What if he hadn’t left? What if we hadn’t met? What if I had not chosen the path that lead to California?

There is no “right” path. There are just paths you chose to take along the way. Each one leads somewhere different and you can’t take them all. It’s just nice when you glimpse the paths you didn’t take and you see they turned out beautiful too.

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5 responses

  • It’s so true and this is beautifully written. May your path always feel like home — wherever it leads you!

  • This is so true. Facebook and email make it so that you always have a window into those other paths. Luckily, most days I am so happy on my path that I don’t feel regret, but there is always a little, “I wonder….”

  • So true. One of the things I love about Facebook the most is not just getting to see what cool things other people are doing, but getting to see them with an extra 15 years of maturity under our belts so we can revel in our friends’ successes and send virtual hugs during their failures without the envy and other undesirable traits we all have as teenagers.

  • This is one of my favorite posts that you’ve ever written Jess. It speaks to the point I’m at in my life so strongly that I’m wondering if somebody in my life asked you to write it secretly. It’s just that weird to have a post like this pop in to my life right now. I’m seriously considering changing my entire life path and am… at a loss, let’s say, for the ability to make the choice. :/

  • This is a great post! I enjoyed it as I sometimes feel the same way. I think it’s normal to wonder about the what ifs of life …. but glad that we can also love where we are at.

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