This morning, I spent some time visiting the Boise Farmers' Market. It was my first visit of the year to the market, although I'd been telling myself I was going to go ever since it opened for the season back in April. Why do today what you can put off until next weekend, I guess.
The market was nice enough, but it was really only an added plus to my real reason for going downtown. My real reason for going downtown was to visit a friend and have a chance to catch up on what she's been up to.
Even though we live in the same city, we haven't seen each other in months, something that probably isn't all that unusual in our hectic paced world. I suspect most of us have trouble connecting as often as we'd like with friends - unless we happen to be lucky enough to work together in the same general location. Which she and I no longer do, although that was how we met in the first place.
I think we had a nice visit, talking about what we've been up to, what her future plans are, our families, etc. You know, the kinds of things friends talk about. I think perhaps we also discovered some additional things we have in common.
Tonight as I write this, thinking back on our conversation, one big difference between us really crystallized for me. I'd always known there were differences, in large part because of the difference in our ages, nearly 30 years, in fact. Of course, I've always been aware of that difference. Actually, I think most of the people I get along best with are much younger than I am, primarily because I don't feel old inside, and I'm not ready to be old outside.
Looking back on today's visit, though, the one thing I am most struck by is the real difference between us in terms of our stage of life. In some ways, I am marking the days until I can retire, at which point the next real adventure for me begins. She, on the other hand, is in many ways just getting started in life, even though she has already had more experiences than many people will have in their lifetimes.
In the last couple of years, my friend has mapped out a career path for herself and has embarked on the educational path necessary to be able to traverse that path, even while continuing to hold down a job. It's something that many people choose or feel they have to do these days, but the fact that many people do it does not make it any less difficult.
As I'm thinking about my friend, I realize that, because of school and work, she has to basically compartmentalize her life in order to make it all work. Everything - work, school, play - has to have its own box, its own cubby in order for everything to fit together, in order for her life not to fall into utter chaos.
Keeping it all together as she has done requires tremendous discipline. It's a word that came up a number of times during our conversation, and it's something we both professed to have difficulty with. I think she is selling herself way short.
The discipline that has allowed her to balance life, work, and school will also, I have no doubt, allow her to be very successful in her chosen career path, and the people she will be working with in her chosen field will be lucky to have her.
I am grateful she was able to make a space for me today in her busy schedule, and I do not say that lightly or sarcastically. It was a wonderful conversation and a wonderful morning spent catching up with a good friend. I'd have to say that most days, life doesn't get any better than that.