Listening In

Monday, September 21, 2009

Paths we have not known

21st September 2009

Sometimes, it is the road more travelled that haunts us.

'Friends who seemed pretty much indistinguishable from you in your 20s make different choices about family or career, and after a decade or two these initial differences yield such radically divergent trajectories that when you get together again you can only regard each other’s lives with bemused incomprehension...

'Some of my married friends may envy my freedom in an abstract, daydreamy way, misremembering single life as some sort of pornographic smorgasbord, but I doubt many of them would actually choose to trade places with me. Although they may miss the thrill of sexual novelty, absolutely nobody misses dating...

'Quite a lot of what passes itself off as a dialogue about our society consists of people trying to justify their own choices as the only right or natural ones by denouncing others’ as selfish or pathological or wrong. So it’s easy to overlook that hidden beneath all this smug certainty is a poignant insecurity, and the naked 3 A.M. terror of regret.'

- Tim Kreider, The New York Times' Happy Days blog

Then there is novelist Guy Gavriel Kay, writing in Tigana: 'There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.'

A comforting belief but one which - and I know this from long years of trying - takes work.

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