Had a conversation this morning with someone who's been a best friend of mine since our first weekend away from home 11 years ago. Meek college freshmen, lost in a world of strangers and freedom. Our lives took wildly different turns in 11 years, but at the core of our relationship are those two 18-year-old girls who took those first steps together. She's been married going on, what, six years now? I was in the wedding. My first friend to marry off into the big, bad world. Today she has two gorgeous kids. Started as itty-bitty little things, and have transformed into these tiny humans with spunk and personalities. She and her hardworking husband make an adorable family in their beautiful house in a cozy neighborhood in northeastern Wisconsin. I certainly don't see them enough, what with their busy lives as parents, and me with my busy life as... me?
I'm not married. I live in an affordable, old apartment with cat puke stains on the carpet. Certainly no children. Cats, though. Although, unfortunately for my eager parents, they don't make for good grandchildren. They're horrible grandchildren, in fact. Hiss every time my parents are near. I have a wealth of great friends and a boyfriend, though. I do things that make me happy, and have the means and the time to do the things that make me happy. I might be closer to 30 than not, but I've done more in my adult years than I could have ever done if I had a family of my own.
And this is where our conversation intersected. She said she'd adopt my mom, giving her the insta-grandchildren she'd love to have. "That'll get her off your back, right?" she joked. I laughed, too. It was funny. She has the life I think my parents would kill for me to have. The house, the husband, the beautiful children. I told her that, too, although admitting it left a pang in my stomach.
She laughed right back.
She told me she envies my life sometimes. My freedom. My running. My "shipload of friends." I'm young, she said. I've experienced so much. She finds herself feeling average in a dead end job. No time to run, hard to make new friends. She feels her identity has become "Mom." And while she adores her children, she fears it's identified her. What if she never has anything exciting to talk about again?
She has the life I'm "supposed" to have, and I have the life she wishes she had more of. It's such an interesting dynamic. So what's the happy medium? Or isn't there one? Do we just make the most of the life we have? Underneath it all, she and I are both happy. Our lives have been blessed in a variety of ways in 11 years. And that'll have to do for now.