I am about to get into the auto after visiting my friend of over twenty years. I pause, turn and press a kiss on her forehead before I leave. It is impulsive and indicative of how I feel about these friendships that have held on loosely over the years.
All of this trip, I have been meeting mostly women friends. People I have seen since school and some that have defined my single days. All of these women are my age and the one common thread I am seeing is how the fog is lifting. One runs her business with élan and dabbles in writing and philosophy. She muses on the connectedness of humans as a race and makes friends spanning continents. Another friend who was very sure that she wanted to raise her kids and stay homemaker is slowly considering getting back to the workforce. She sounds diffident in her abilities but clear in her intention. The fog is lifting she says meaning many things at once.
I meet another woman for coffee. One I have only known virtually. We trade notes on our writing and how to make a career of it. I walk away noting how confident we sound and realizing our twenty or thirty year old selves would have balked at the uncertainty our career paths hold.
Yet another talks of purchasing a franchise and talks half heartedly about returning to the workforce. She says she likes the idea of being out there, doing things, being independent financially. "I am in no hurry," she says "I'll let the chips fall in place."
The women I meet at forty and counting are emerging from the responsibilities of child-rearing, of fortifying their fledgling relationships, of keeping their homes intact, of juggling many balls in the air. They are ready to drop some of them, ready to move out, ready to put themselves ahead (at least some of the time). Some of them I meet are rediscovering themselves, reinventing themselves.
It heartens me, these things I see. I feel joy connecting with people I once knew as girls, now as an adult. As we rehash life choices and ponder over lessons learnt, there is peace in knowing that there are others who tread the same roads and stumble over the same obstacles. As we make promises to meet again, I can't but help thinking that the view of the path traversed will be even more breathtaking next time around.