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.