2023-06-28: outcomes

a little while ago, my partner and i took our dogs on a long walk. we try to do this on weekends: during the week, i take them out at lunch for half an hour, but on the weekends, we try to go for an hour and a half, two hours, enough to tire them out, at least a bit. the older one ambles along, keeping a slower pace than he used to. the younger one runs down to the ponds, gets in; doesn't swim, but enjoys the cold water up to his chest.

and on this particular occasion, we got talking about how we ended up in a city neither of us were born in. i mentioned that i was happy to be in a place where i don't run into anyone from my past; that it's a little sad that i don't bump into old friends, but that i also don't unexpectedly meet the worst people i've ever known in my life.

that's a tradeoff i don't think everyone would make. but i'd imagine it depends who the worst people in your life were, and what they did to you.

we talked as well about how we ended up, how our friends did. about one friend in particular — married! two kids! — who was sort of a scattered, artsy free-spirit her whole life, or at least growing up, and so to see her tied down and looking after two young children felt like a strange thing.

i'm writing about this because i'm not where i thought i'd be either. i'd imagine that's true for a lot of us. plans are easy to make, but rarely fully in our control. i used to make plans with far-off friends to visit, back when i was in school, but i didn't have the money; by the time i did, we'd long since drifted. thinking of one friend in particular, a fireball i met almost a quarter century ago: she eventually left for ireland, while i went east, but not as far, to ontario, then back west. i thought i'd do a decade of university, get a phd, teach and research. that didn't work out. i dropped out, started a life in a new city, live a quiet life with my partner and our dogs and with the company of a few good friends. this isn't maybe the life i envisioned when i was 19, 20. but it's good. i'm grateful. and if we were friends once, maybe we can still be again, someday.