Monday, October 17, 2011

Limitless Possibilities

It always seems odd to call the three women with whom I spent the weekend my "oldest" friends. We went to junior high and high school together, and they've been part of my life longer than anyone who doesn't share my gene pool, but we never feel old when we're together.

During our annual weekend back in our hometown I found myself peering into the cars beside us on the main drag, and looking up when the door opened at the restaurant where we ate. I was looking for classmates, but I was looking for the faces I remembered from almost 40 years earlier.

Because it's a small town I did occasionally see someone who had been in high school with us, or an old 4-H leader, or someone else's mom. I recognized the shape of the eyebrows or a quirk of a smile, and with a mental lurch, that person would drop into a more current age slot.

We always try to plan activities for these get-togethers--should we bring table games? How about some kind of craft we could do together? Is there a new restaurant to try? Inevitably, though, our schedule reverts to what we've always done. We talk, and we laugh.

This year we decided to buy a lottery ticket (a much better suggestion than the alternative, which was to get matching tattoos). Each of us plunked down $1.25 for a shared $5 fantasy.

None of us regularly buys lottery tickets--we had to ask the clerk exactly how this mysterious process worked--but I think there was a tiny voice inside each of us that said, "You know, we could just win this thing. We could split $39 million." The chatter turned to what each of us would do with our share of the jackpot--paying off mortgages and travel led the list, with just a touch of body-sculpting surgery thrown in.

You see, we're pretty lucky. We're all age-appropriately healthy, we have families we love, we have enough resources to keep us comfortable and enough obstacles to keep us humble. We've been friends for a long, long time and we know the phenomenon that even though the surface changes, those of us who are aging don't feel any different inside than we did when we were 17.

Sunday morning, when we checked winning lottery numbers, we discovered we had won--absolutely nothing. But as we looked at each other and laughed at our audacity in thinking we would win the jackpot by buying a single ticket, none of us felt any different. When we're together, we always feel young and loved and that anything is possible.

We're pretty lucky.

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