Today I met an old friend and former colleague for lunch at a French Vietnamese restaurant and we talked for hours. We worked so well together back in the day, 19 years ago now, when I was a book editor and he was a designer and the one I preferred to hire above all. He would get started on the work before we had even signed a contract, because we both understood that neither would ever screw over the other. He had such a magnificent eye, and his work ethic was impeccable. He was just a good person, married, as I am, and we had our first children, both sons, not even a year apart. He and his then very pregnant wife had my husband and me and my son, just months old, over for dinner when I left the publishing house to go to the magazine where I would submerge myself for the next 19 years. I can't for the life of me figure out why I didn't keep in touch. Not just with him, but with all the people I worked with from before I went to the magazine, who I am now reconnecting with in such life-expanding ways.
The crazy thing is, we are both older, both grayer, I am fatter, he is still lean, still a runner, he is balder, and with all of that it was as if no time had passed, we knew each other still, in a way that had nothing to do with externals, but instead was based on mutual respect and recognition of a similar way of understanding the world.
We shared all the news about our families, too, each of us with a fairly inexhaustible capacity for hearing about the other's offspring, discovering all the ways in which their histories have overlapped. There was a sense of wonder at the realization that our sons had attended the same high school, and our daughters are both sophomores at the same college! And then we began tracing the last 19 years only to realize we had done this married-with-children thing in lockstep, with so many of the same experiences, so many people we both know. And we are also both in the very same place at this moment, he having just closed his design firm and opened a new one out of his home, and me embarking on this new self-employed venture as an editor, writer and book coach working out of my home. When I told him I was giving myself till March to see if I could make this work, he said that was too soon, I should give myself a year, that it takes about that time to really get things going at a steady clip.
I left our lunch reminded that my life has become wider and more vivid since I transitioned to working for myself. Some days the financial prospects are scary (we talked about that, too) and some days, like today, it's exhilarating to truly know I direct my own life and can dance with the possibilities.
As for my gimpy left leg, the physical therapy finally feels like it's having an effect, and that combined with slow but deliberate weight loss, will bring about a healing. I'm putting that out there. I will be healed. So it's been a good day so far, lunch, then physical therapy, and now I am heading back out to attend the going away party for an editor at the magazine where I used to work. She got herself another job and is moving to another city to do it, and life trundles on.