Almost four years ago I went to a friend’s wedding, wearing a pink dress and white heels that had little flowers on them. I lived in San Francisco and the wedding was in Menlo Park, and I didn’t have a car. I took MUNI to the CalTrain station at Fourth and King, and because I had some extra time I stopped in the Safeway across the street and picked up some sushi to eat on the train ride down.
I was going to the wedding alone, even though I don’t like going to weddings alone. But, I thought, you never know who you’ll meet at a wedding. As it turned out, I met someone who gave me a ride back to the city, and became a boyfriend for the next 2 years.
The friends who married had their first child last fall, and I visited them after New Years. The man I’d met at their wedding was there, too. We’re finding a way to be friends. For a moment it felt very strange, like being a guest in a different version of my life: sitting in the living room of their cozy home in the Inner Sunset, the Christmas tree still up, and the baby monitor on. I thought: My life could have gone this way. The man and I could have become married, and shared a home and a life and maybe even a child together.
Things went differently for me.
I called my friend Stephanie when I got home. “I never planned to be 38, unmarried, with no kids,” I told her. “And it’s not like I gave it up to pursue my career. I don’t even have a fancy career to show for it.”
“But you did choose it,” she said, “You did choose all the things that brought you here. And you’re in a good place.”
Stephanie has known me my whole life, so her comment carries a unique weight. And I knew that she was right. I’m loving this phase of my life. Traveling, studying, meeting people, teaching and writing continues to weave a kind of magic carpet that’s taking me into new territory. It’s a worthy adventure, and I’m opening to new discoveries about love and life.
The choices you make add up to something, and you don’t know what that is until you get there.
What’s next for me? Or for you? There is only one way to know. The doing is the finding out. We live and love one breath at a time. We can never see quite where our choices will lead us. We’ll know what it adds up to only when we get there. So enjoy each step, knowing that even though you choose the steps you don’t necessarily choose where they bring you. Enjoy the journey, because that’s the only part that’s really yours.
Be curious. Savor all of it.