A step backward allows you to leap forward


You ask what I value most in friendship.

Grace, endurance, loyalty.

Those are probably the things I look for the most in friendship. And my closest of friends have those attributes.

About your classmates: Isn't it something to see the number of things you can fit into a day that the younger students (who have way more time, but grumble about the lack of time) cannot.

Frankly, I can't imagine having done anything more in my 20s than sleeping off a hangover.

What a waste of free time! I could have been paying attention to my writing ambition instead of lying around all day Sunday watching television.

Imagine what I could have accomplished? I might have a proper writing career by now.

Just last weekend, someone in one of my writing groups mentioned not wanting to be seen as a housewife who writes.

I said, "Why not? Carol Shields was."

I guess that I ought to listen to my own advice.

Regarding the school thing. It may be difficult and you may feel out of place, but that's something to admire. I admire your ability to take this risk, though you don't see it as that. You said you think of it as a financial necessity. While that may be true, you could simply find work that pays the bills, but you are being brave by not settling for something less than what you want.

You have taken a step backwards in order to the leap forwards. And that is inspiring to me. Stop laughing. I can still hear you. Stop it!!

It's true. The risk is not only financial (that's the easy one), it's psychological and emotional. Don't discount those risks to your emotional health.

Know what's worse? I look at pictures of us from that time, in our late teens to mid-20s, and I don't even remember who I was then. Now 15 years have passed with Christmas cards and letters dashed off, then another five years of occasional email messages, and I worry that as our correspondence trickles, we will lose touch entirely.