I recently had a long phone call with a friend from high school. Like me, he is no longer the same person he was fifteen years ago. Today, he lives in a rural town in California with his fiancé and is training to be a plumber. He told me about his house, his dogs, and how his family is doing. He also told me about another old friend of ours who got into a fight recently. The guy he was fighting suddenly pulled out a gun, and, as he squeezed the trigger, our mutual friend grabbed the barrel of the gun to pull it away. And now he has a hole in his hand. But he’s alive.
Shortly after this conversation, I called a friend from college who works at a bank. He told me about his pending promotion, how much he’s learning, and his future plans for law school.
Whenever I talk with friends who live different lives, I notice that I am slightly different with them. I was more guarded about professional updates and aims with the former friend, and more forthcoming with the latter. In terms of emotional experiences and vulnerabilities, I am more forthcoming with my high school friend and guarded with my college friend.