Thursday, July 27, 2006

Friends of Days Gone By: The Real Opportunity Cost

Yesterday, in a conversation, someone was mentioning how fortunate I am. I have experienced so much of what the world has to offer, taken many challenges, met famous people, experienced what few get to experience. The life of a nomad, some might say, and it’s true to an extent. I have had a ton of opportunities, and I have always done my best to make the most of each and every one. I wouldn’t change one minute of it.

The best part, though, of all my adventures is clearly the people I have met along the way.  And the drawback to my journeys is the simple fact that, whenever I’ve moved, I have had to leave most or all of these people behind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the life I’ve led, and I’m glad for each and every opportunity.  But I continually think of the people I’ve left behind, many of them so special, to me and in general. And I suspect that, for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve been afforded, the loss of these people is the cost of having these opportunities.

Some of these people have been nomads themselves, on their own roads, and our paths have crossed for only a small portion of our individual paths. Occasionally we try to meet up in another city, but the nomad’s life seldom finds a schedule, and rarely will two nomads be able to link up again.  Try as we might, another trade wind always blows one or the other nomad off course, to a new adventure or opportunity.  

Others forget us, time rolls on and the friends in front of them are the truest friends, the nomad is nothing more than what The Eagles call the “Johnny Come Lately”, passing into town, into their consciousness, for a brief moment in time until the next nomad passes through, each augmenting the person’s core group of friends but never becoming the permanent edition.

But most fade out because the nomad, this nomad at least, rarely finds the time to write enough, to call enough, or the voice to tell these people how much they’ve meant in his life.  Slowly but surely, in the minds of the people with stable lives, a spouse, a group of friends, a secure home, the nomad is but a fleeting memory, a smile (hopes the nomad) on the face of the friend when some memory is triggered, but flees just as quickly as it came.

As I look at the logs of viewers of this blog, I see the location of people, and wonder at the memories and who might be behind those views.  San Jose, could that be Elyse, who taught me so much about living life in the moment? Wisconsin, maybe Bryan, who showed no fear spending his days as an Israeli in the West Bank, discovering the real situation there? Israel, it could be Debbie and Martin, a couple who reminded me true love is possible. Brookline, Jaimie, that love long since gone from my life?

Of course I’ll never know the answers, and perhaps that’s how it should be.  You pay the price for the life you lead, you can’t expect a refund. But now, as I begin to dig in roots in a community, and try to change my life, I look back on the faces of my past, and long for them in my life once more. But this is the life I’ve chosen. This is the life I lead. Forward is the only direction for me.

Posted by Scottage at 10:53 AM / | |