Nice dinner out last night to celebrate 3 (3!!) friends’ birthday’s, two of which really were yesterday. They were even born in the same hospital, and are not related.
Conversation turned to children — all our children are growing up and either are, or are about to, start making their way in the world. I remember that as a horrifying time of life. Some of it was good — our first Christmas here K and took a bus out to Pt. Reyes (you could take a bike to the entrance to a national park) and then hiked in and spent the night on the coast. It was amazing. There were irises growing wild, and I was wearing a new ragg wool sweater from my mother. I lost it later when I left it in a cafe. But aside from those moments of delirious independence, it was also a time of great worry — that I would never figure out what to do with my life; that everyone else had figured this out and only I, stupid me, was working for minimum wage in a textbook store. But then it all works out, and becomes what you have done with your life and it’s okay.
Painful, though, to watch one’s children go through it. There’s nothing you can do to help, I think. The son of one of these friends got accepted to a prestigious program in a faraway city only to decide, before he really started, actually, that he could not imagine living there for three years and that he missed his girlfriend, so he gave it all up and was home two weeks later. Hmmm.
Which gave rise to the question, is there anything that you can do that will really ruin your life? Can you make a mistake so grave as to ruin everything? (And was that one, I think, was the subtext.) I think not, actually. I mean, okay, you could become a drug addict or murder someone, and both of those would definitely be mistakes that would ruin your life, but absent those, you do what you do and it becomes your life. Maybe NN (not my N) gives up his chance to do this program — but maybe, you know, what he wants is to be close to home and to do this other thing that he has the chance to do here. I guess I think nothing’s wasted — maybe you don’t grab chances you could have, but maybe you really weren’t ready for them or maybe they were not what you really wanted, although that may not have been obvious at the time.
I guess what I think is that if you do make mistakes, you can learn from them, and then you sort of grow around them —
What do you think?