Trev once accused me of utter absurdity for claiming great sex was my priority for any future relationship and I would roll my eyes so hard at Jan that I’d dislodge my contact lenses for her loyalty to her tiger parents. Of course we deliberately wound each other up, or at least Trev and I would wind each other and Jan up.
It was a friendship we have moved on from. When Trev and I met up, it concreted the friendship and while it has been a couple of years since we saw each other he has promised to dance at my wedding. We still talk but in a different way, today its far more based on the idea that we’ve figured out what we want and now we’re trying to make it happen. Maybe because I never met Jan, that friendship was more going to be more ephemeral. Perhaps because Trev and I took literal as well as physical journeys it was harder to reconcile Jan’s coming of age with our own. As a triad we drifted apart.
At any rate, what stands out from those conversations most was a question posed by Jan as to what more than anything motivated us. She ultimately chose money and seemed irritated at Trev’s motivation for travel and pleasure. Trev argued that things such as money, fame and success were pursued out of a belief that they would bring happiness. I agreed and said I was motivated by happiness itself, the little things. I’m currently living my live out of a desire for small pleasures; baking bread, keeping chickens, candles at dinner and good wine (hmm, actually it seems I’m motivated by food; I certainly subscribe to Jay Rayner’s opinion on dinner parties).
I remember my father offering up a similar question when I was a child. There were three goals he said; money, fame and success and if I was only able to have two, which would I choose? I chose money and fame, which he informed me was incorrect. (Daddy wasn’t much of a philosopher!) Of course now I see the question as flawed. It presumes there being a path through life that followed will make us happy.
Perhaps being driven made my father happy but given my similarities to him, I suspect that being driven can be a tool for distraction. It’s the successful person’s procrastination for contemplating the meaning of life. I suspect my father would (given the chance) give the kind of retort that Jan might; that not being driven is procrastination for getting on with life and being a bum.
Trev was certainly that for a while but from where I’m sitting he seems to have found peace with the world. He doesn’t have all the answers (or if he does, he’s holding back on me) but he accepts that. Likewise, I’m not completely certain in the direction my life is going in but I’ve largely come to terms with that being ok. Possibly, Jan’s peace lies in that corner office with a sea view she’s heading towards. Given I’ll never reach the career milestones Jan is aiming for it’s not really for me to say that happiness isn’t waiting there for her but I’m sure I wouldn’t find it there.
The last time I spoke to Trev we talked about cherry trees and adventures. Each of us feels torn between the two opposing paths they represent to us. I want this family I’m building, he wants an allotment. Both of us love the open road. An image pops into my mind as I write this. Not of an open road at all but the bamboo train in Battambang, Cambodia. A thin track weaving through jungly fields with the sun setting about us; we were vaguely aiming towards Phnom Penh but Cambodia was 100% journey with destination irrelevant.
I don’t think there is reconciliation; one will always come at the cost to the other. I want my family more than the open road but I’m still leaving them for an adventure in Turkey in September (the fiancé is wonderfully supportive). It will go a long way to appeasing my desire to leave them all for good. I’ve made my peace with that. I’m not terrible for wanting the opposite to what I have, I think I’m healthy for admitting to it and looking for a degree of compromise that will provide the happiest meeting in the middle point for me.
I don’t think Trev, Jan and I have much in the way of answers but I feel as though we’ve each picked a direction to head in for now.
Or at least, I’ve picked mine but that is only a third of the story...