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 Old Friends

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 26, 2001
Underneath the little thin black line that follows this paragraph are idle musings as they pertain to people who have been a part of my past but are no longer a part of my present. A perceptive person might read the following and see it as a sort of allegory, and perhaps even recognize that the literary allusion is targeted at them. Unfortunately, if the below were intended to be allegorical, it is doubtful that the sort of person it might be directed at would recognize it as such.

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Every so once in awhile I meet up with "old friends". These are usually the people I went to highschool with, although sometimes the acquiantance dates from our early 20's. I shared some good times with most of them, and our past involves some key formative life moments that will never be forgotten.

The conversations with these people is always the same: "Do you remember when..." "Hey, how about that time we..." There is also the cursory, "So, what have you been up to?", but the chatter is really dominated by reliving past events and acting like who we were when those events occurred.

Revelation number one wasn't very long in the coming, and consisted solely of thinking that it was too bad we had grown so far apart that the only things we had to talk about were past events. Revleation number two consisted of a bit of harsh judgement.

After a few of these meetings I began to realize that the topics of conversation were not the result of us seeking common ground, but were in fact due to the other party having never reached any other locus on their life journey. We were discussing the past because for them the present was no different. They were the same people, doing the same things they were doing 10 years ago. It never dawned on any of them that I was bored with the conversation because I had moved on to the next thing, because for them there never was any next thing to move on to. They had simply stopped.

The third revelation took much longer to arrive, but eventually a superiority-based attitude gave way to understanding, if not outright acceptance. Yes, these people had stopped; their attitudes, goals and dreams forever fixed by the time they had reached their 21st birthday. But they were happy there. They may have terminated any forward movement because of an intellectual inability to comprehend the basic idea of it, but they also did so because they had reached contentment with their current state. I can not find a great deal of fault with this, for if one has found an acceptable stasis then I see no reason not to stay there.

However, despite my new-found magnanimity, the conversations with these people is still unbelievably boring and repititious for me. I hold no criticism for them and how they choose to lead their lives, but I really wish they were capable of understanding that I have parted ways with them. I am happy they have found contentment, but I wish to move forward. I have not forgotten the past, nor do I regret it, but I do not wish the past to be what defines my present situation.

I have found a different path to follow, and I do not object to your decision to avoid uncharted regions yourself. However, if you do not wish to join me then please do not hinder my progress by trying to shackle me to a mode of being that I no longer consider viable.

Thank you and good night.


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