I travel now to reconnect with friends and family. I have closed on completion so many previous chapters of my life: high school, college, years in Texas and the Netherlands, work in Boston. I try to re-open these stories to see where the characters went.
I’m 41. Many of my friends are married, have children, and live in the suburbs. It’s a trajectory had to resist. So I spend two nights in Ann Arbor, Michigan with gracious Dee-Ann, her husband Nate, and two bouncy kids Ian and Claire. I get to play pretend, the pretend of being a parent.
Families with small kids tend to circle their wagons, i.e. shelter themselves in their homes while life outside passes on by. A has barely enough hours to make breakfast, get kids to school, wash clothes, and go to work.
Dee-Ann and I set up a small tent last night in her back porch. Today, I watch her son sing in a school play. Two typical family activities: camping and drama.
Still, I dive difficulty into friends’ family lives. I don’t have a biological family of my own. I’m 41, unmarried, unemployed, in a two-tone car with two hundred thousand miles. Perhaps conventional status signifiers are worthless, if not imprisoning. We have different lives to lead. Mine shall be unusual. I hope you find your own path.