Late yesterday afternoon, my nephew swung by to pick up DS to go to the local bar and grill for happy hour with some friends.They are only 15 months apart, E being a late summer baby, was the youngest in his class, and two years ahead of DS in school. He had the most awesome cars, trucks, and tools, and at a very young age, knew the mechanics of everything. DS on the other hand was into dinosaurs, and Indiana Jone's, excavations, and later recreating events and story telling through pictures and film. Two very different boys, but so close in age they still gravitated towards each other at family hang outs. E picked him up at the same time as I was taking Pup for a walk. As DS got in the back seat, a friend already being in the side, he had to maneuver around a little doll, and stuck it in the car seat. E has a four year old daughter, a wife, a mortgage, a 9-5 job, and a quiet life in a small town. He plays softball one night a week in the summer, hockey one night a week in the winter, and meets friends for an occasional beer after work, but not on Wednesday's when he picks up a shift bar tending to help with the added expenses of dance lessons, and an occasional weekend away.
DD2 is going to be her bestie from childhood's maid of honor in the spring. S met a guy through online dating, found him a perfect match for herself, and within four months they were living together, at the guys house, with a dog, and engaged about a year after that. I think it will roughly be two years since they met to when married. Like DD2, as a youngster, she played basketball. She also golfed (still does) and was DD2's golf instructor. While going to school for counseling, and getting her masters as well, she seemed career focused, like DD1. Unlike DD, S wanted to find the perfect guy, settle down and get married sooner rather than later. Always needing to feel loved, a string of relationships with "the one", always left DD1 perplexed and prepared for the inevitable call or text of heartbreak that was bound to come. Still, always the supportive friend, even across the ocean, DD1, has been there. As to S's perfect match fiance, the house, underwater financially and in need of pricey home improvements neither have the money for, and the successful business man persona has been dusted off to uncover a thirty year old man struggling to keep a business afloat, underemployed the bulk of the time, and a potentially as needy as she has been. As the human imperfections on the fiance emerged, responding honestly, but kindly, whenever S has had a spat, DD1 is still there for her friend. She helps her friend understand that no person is perfect, and she just needs to be honest about how real life actually is, not a fairy tale, but still can good.
I've known these young people almost their whole lives, and many other friends and young relatives of my adult children. I remember when they were all little boys and little girls. It is amazing to me when I think how fast the years have gone-seems like it was just a year ago when my nephew was pushing my son around in his Little Tykes car. Yet, they all grow up, with lives so different. DS doesn't have a family and children anywhere on the visible horizon, yet doesn't rule out some day. He knows his schedule and career is erratic, and needs to live a portable kind of life to truly take advantage of opportunities for his career development, not conducive to a family, or even a partner unless that person too is in the business. DD2 will never settle for anyone as a significant other just to be in a relationship, and that's not to say she is a snob. She's not looking for any one to change or anyone to change her. She knows the type of character she might meld with, one that is honest and self fulfilled first with themselves. She may or may not have found it with her boyfriend. He seems to be of full support of her interests and career, and has his own interests and pursuits, neither needing the other to fill some hole.
My and DH's choices/lives were on the nephew-bestie track. Neither of us fully followed the dreams of our younger self's, but still created a good life. There is not just one path for any of us, but a series of decisions that build upon each other until thirty years later, you look back and see what was created. We were both a little boy and girl to someone else looking backwards, wondering where all the years went. It's never to late though to reconnect with that child.