I got a chance to catch up with one of my good friends from high school this weekend. we'd lost touch for a while, then ran into each other at the grocery store a while back. we live less than a mile apart.
this past weekend we decided to go for a hike on the extra day off. and although our hike got rained out. we wouldn't let it ruin our day, and decided to grab coffee then dinner instead.
we talked and talked. so many years to catch up on. so many big and little stories to share. even some stories from strangers.
we got to talking about where our lives were. if we were where we thought we would be at this point.
she said she (and her parents) always assumed she'd work for a few years after college, then get married and have kids.
I used to think I wanted to get married to a guy that would stay home with the kids so I could have a career. my parents always told me I couldn't get married until I was 32. I needed to make my own way first.
both of us finished college, went to grad school and have done fairly well in our careers. we've both had good and bad relationships along the way.
she asked me if I was happy with where I was in life. I answered with a definitive yes. I aked her the same. she answered that in some ways she was, but she wishes she were married. she wants that, expects it. and the kids, too.
she asked me if I expected more. I answered that I didn't so much expect more as hope for it. I do hope to find someone to share the rest of my life with, and maybe to have kids with. but if not, I'd be content with my life the way it is.
somewhere between those questions and our lists of who we were looking for, I realized that our general outlook on life was vastly different. and the biggest difference was that between our hopes and expectations.
she's not happy with where life has taken her, or where she has taken her life. her expectations haven't been met.
I am happy with where my life is. sure I hope my life becomes more and different, but I don't expect anything.
maybe that's why I'm happy with my life, and she doesn't seem to be. when you expect something and it doesn't happen, you feel slighted. when you simply hope for something and it doesn't happen. you continue to hope for it, maybe even work a little harder to turn your hopes into reality.
I hope my friend learns to be happy with where she is, yet not lose hope for something more.
later, I got to thinking about what would happen if I lost everything I have worked so hard for, my house and my career, like those in the New Orleans and other places hit by the hurricane.
sure I would be sad, but as long as my friends and family were alright that would be all that would matter. I think that's what happiness is. loving and feeling loved. and I do, even if right now it's not by one special guy.