Last night I had the utmost pleasure of enjoying dinner and a “few” cocktails with a very old and very dear friend of mine. Because of life and its happenings, this person and I have not seen each other or really been in touch in a little over 6 years, but our connection was fierce. When we knew each other way back when, this was someone who I viewed with great admiration, truly a man with staggering ambition as well as genuine insight into the sensitivities of the world. Our conversations in the past have been filled with light-hearted laughter and deep soul searching, and I was excited to see him again and relight that fire that our friendship possessed so many years ago.
Driving down the 405 I was pondering all of the things that would happen. Would we look different? Would we be completely different? Am I interesting enough? Will we be bored with each other almost immediately and fill the spaces with small talk? Nah … I wasn’t really worried about that. Mostly I was excited. Lately, my run in’s with old friends have inspired me and stirred up the pot in my mind with fresh ideas and wonderings and I knew this interaction would do exactly that. I pulled up to the restaurant and I walked inside. Immediately, I was greeted with the warmest embrace and the sound of a familiar voice shouting “E !!!” right in my ear. He found me.
Right off the bat, the conversation took a turn towards catching up. How is _______ ? What is _______ up to? When was the last time you spoke to _____ ? It was so wonderful to hear about all of these people I once lived with and to see friend’s of mine thriving in their lives. Travelers, doctors, writers, upcoming celebrities … blessed. We were all doing really well actually, and that is always so good to hear. Slowly but surely our conversation wound deeper and deeper into our thoughts and latest ponderings. As a writer, a published writer I might add, my friend has a way with words that draws a conversation out smoothly and with great ease. These are my favorite kinds of friends. It did not take long for our talk to approach a point that has been circling in my consciousness for quite some time now. This is a message that the universe has been sending to me by all means necessary. Finding it in books and street art and blog posts and conversations with old and new friends. I have been so bombarded by this message over the last several weeks that it has finally hit me that this is important. The universe is trying to tell me something. This is my next lesson and I better pay attention because it is more clear now that it has ever been before. Sitting across the table from my friend in this dimly lit booth of a train car themed cocktail bar he looks me right in the eye and he says to me, “the key is to Be Present.” I could not believe he had just said that to me. Just the day before I was having this exact conversation with someone because this message has been jumping into my focus repeatedly and I am finally seeing it clearly now. I honestly have to wonder, how long has this point been trying to get my attention and I am finally just noticing it now? I looked back at him and said “I can’t believe you just said that,” and from there, our conversation took off.
So many profound thoughts came to us in this discussion, that just writing this I am feeling so lucky that I not only have these types of people in my life but that I possess a channel inside me that gives me the capacity to hear and absorb these messages. Through the weaving and twisting conversation, I walked away with one very important message. You see, my friend and I are both at very different stages in our lives. A lifelong goal of his has recently come to fruition, he is a published author and has the opportunity to travel and live his dream. I, on the other hand, am at a starting point. I have realized that my personal passion is to travel, and although I know my career will one day require my full attention that day is not today. My direction is changing, while he is reaching its next highest peak. But regardless of those differences, we were both completely aware of how none of that really matters. Why? Because we are not our careers. He is not a published author, and I am not a waitress. Those are roles that we play, and they are important and necessary, but they do not make us who we are. At any given moment, our jobs, our careers, or our passions can change in the blink of an eye and what then? All we will have is this moment, all we will know is the person that we have to be in the present. What if we do not know them? What if we become so engrossed in the roles that we play, that we become doctors or lawyers or CEO’s and we are successful and well established and rich and powerful but one day we don’t want to do that anymore? And what if one day we realize this but because we haven’t paid attention to the person inside of us that isn’t just a doctor, but is also a writer or a yogi or a traveler or an artist that … we don’t know how to be anything else?
By completely identifying ourselves with the roles that we play, by considering myself inferior because I’m a waitress or by seeing himself superior because he’s an author we are losing ourselves to our roles. We are not being present with our true selves because we are seeing these roles as who we are. But I’m not a waitress, I’m Erin. And, when I look at it that way and take a look at what that provides me in the current moment, it’s actually perfectly aligned with who I want to be. I want to travel, I want the freedom to explore California and to explore myself. I want to be on my feet and constantly meeting new and interesting people. Those are the things that I want in this moment, and I have all of them. I am grateful. When I stop questioning, “Are We There Yet?” with every decision I make when I stop imagining that there is some finish line out there somewhere in the distance that I will reach and say Ah Ha! I have made it and I am happy now! I have reached success! When I stop looking forward to my happiness to something that hasn’t even happened yet, I can take a moment like this, or a moment with an old dear friend in a train car bar with a margarita and I can say …
Yes, I am here now.