Jesse and I drove to Bend today, to his mom and step-dad’s house, where we will spend the New Year and weekend. Its going to be a couples retreat of sorts, with 4 other couples that we love coming to stay with us.
Tonight was particularly special because Jeff, Jesse’s best friend from business school, and his fiance Barb arrived from Vancouver, BC. We haven’t hung out since graduation last June, and to say they are our close friends would be an understatement. Family more accurately fits the bill.

Naomi and BarbBarb is the one on the right side of the photo (dressed as Jessie Spanno for Halloween). Naomi is the lovely girl on the left. The three of us were a little gang for about a year, in one of those rare relationships that goes from zero to inseparable in a few short weeks. Its the rapid friendship development you rarely see after college. Perhaps it was the fact that we were all dating or married to business students, bound together in the shared experience of being committed to men who were committed to a very demanding program. Rather than sulk on our own, or tag along to business school events as +1’s, we decided to join forces and become the SOB’s: significant others of business students. The bond we formed was the highlight of 2008 for me.
As is the way with college towns, people graduate and move away, and Jesse and I were left alone in the Eug. And while its nice not to have business school dominating our social life, we definitely miss our friends.
So this reunion this weekend is pretty special for us, and tonight was a great start. We all practically wore out our voice boxes with non-stop chatter, and we all went to bed excited about starting it all again tomorrow. Some people you just can’t get enough of.
Barb and I haven’t talked since she moved, but we don’t need to. Naomi and I would be the same way. Some friends can just do that. And it was kinda cool to have to summarize the past 6 months for her with no bullshit, just boiling down what has really been going on in my life, my heart, my dreams, my disappointments. And just as open and honestly, hear her reactions to it, filtered through the lense of her life experience and knowledge of who I am.
One thing she said was particularly poignant. A former pro-volleyball player herself, she gets the athlete with big dreams thing. And she also gets disappointment. She listened to me talk about the ride I’ve been on, and she said, “This is the experience you were meant to have. It will effect the relationships you form, the parent you will be, the empathy you will be capable of feeling for others. The adversity has helped you learn to live in the now, something that will make the rest of your life more meaningful and happy.”
This goal of making the Olympics, or medaling, or whatever, is really just a vehicle for personal growth. It is an amplified life path. You sign up for the ride, not the destination.