Tonight, I saw my old friends Aubrey, Lisa and Robb again. I’ve known Aubrey since middle school. Along with Jason and Dan, he was a constant member of my “group” since before our voices changed, before we were interested in girls and before we realized how unyielding reality is. In high school, several other friends including Robb and Lisa joined us as companions in role-playing, video gaming, fencing, martial arts, CCGs, board games and just about anything else we were involved in. Unlike many other groups of friends, most of us stayed friends through college and after. Heck, Aubrey and I even bought a house together when we were 20 and rented it out to our friends… We used to throw parties all the time. Some were big, with 30-50 college buddies, but my favorite ones were smaller. Things weren’t perfect, of course. But all in all, high school and college were good times.

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It was both a great and a terrible feeling to see everyone again. On one hand, it was great to hang out. Lisa and Robb moved into a new house and have kept stable jobs after they got married, and now Aubrey’s studying bio-chemistry of all things, but they’re all pretty much the same as when I left. Aubrey is still one heck of entertaining conversationalist, Robb still has half-assembled computers on his living room floor, and Lisa is the same personable gal she’s always been. We all went out for Beau Jo’s pizza, had a lot of laughs, talked of old times and got caught up with each other. Tomorrow, I’ll see some of my best friends from college- Matt (who also lived in our house), Nicole (who ended up marrying Matt), and Mike. It will be a blast for sure.

And the bad part? Well, I guess seeing everyone has forced me to look at exactly how much following my dreams costs me. The whole time I’m in Taiwan saving up money, and later studying, I’ll be away from the friends who will be my friends for the rest of my life. I have an interesting job and I’m learning new things everyday. I know I’d be restless if I lived here now, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I think Neil Peart said it best,

It’s cold comfort
To the ones without it
To know how they struggled
How they suffered about it
If their lives were exotic and strange
They would likely have gladly exchanged them
For something a little more plain
Maybe something a little more sane

We each pay a fabulous price
For our visions of paradise
But a spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission.