Got such a strange hit this morning as I idly googled some old friends from Bloomington Indiana. We were all in the university together and some of us hung on for a few years afterwards, drinking and experimenting with drugs. We were(excuse me, I was) filled with existential angst. It was some badge on honor to be totally messed up and suffering with personal and political issues. Anyway, I googled an old friend, who I had last heard of as he and his wife and baby were heading for Nebraska where he had gotten a job, much to his despair as it was far from any center of civilization. He and I had had a flirtation. He wanted to run away with me--we could go to Mexico and be magnificent at 30. What romantic illusions we had.
Lo and behold, there he was and, more surprisingly, had just died!!! Professor of philosophy in Chapel Hill NC, beloved husband of his same wife, two sons, had continued to play music, guitar and mandolin, had had a life, a full one and died of brain tumor last fall. I felt I was a time traveler who had suddenly set down in some future where I saw the end of a life that I had just left when he was young and 27 and torn between romance and duty. He had made the right choice. I would have like to have said, "Hail and farewell. Well done," before I turned back to my own life. But that opportunity was gone. Instead I realize I am in my future and that time is precious.