When the invitation came to meet two friends for
lunch, the excuse was right on the tip of my tongue. Not the truth, mind you. Instead
some conjured-up project deadline. A hair appointment. A family commitment
perhaps. Anything that could conceivably get in the way of me joining them. That’s
what I was thinking.
Fortunately, my second thought was better. My
Tuesday routine can wait. The paragraph on my latest essay that I’ve been
wrestling with for days isn’t going anywhere. The laundry will get washed. The
bills will get paid. Sure, if my friends had suggested meeting for dinner, when
the day was winding down, when all the to do’s were done, that would have been
more convenient. But lunch it is.
The real truth is that I miss my friends. Once upon a time, we’d get together almost every day. Rain or shine, standing there at the appointed neighborhood stop, we’d wait for the school bus to shuttle our kids away and then bring them back again. In between the waiting, we’d exchange bits of news and comfort, a camaraderie of motherhood that served to anchor the endless activity of our days that blurred into weeks into months into years. But, as we now know, the activity was not endless, our kids are all off on their own journeys, near and far, working and studying, living and learning.
Over the years, the three of us have managed to
stay in touch, to keep our friendship going with an occasional dinner, walk, or
yes, lunch. As we take our seats at a table in a nearby restaurant, we’re more
interested in catching up than in reading the menu as our patient waitress
My friend who spent the winter in Florida happily
fills us in on her adventures, the golfing and the boating, the new friends she’s
met and the new activities she’s tried. And, of course, we’re eager to hear news
about her daughter and her son and all the latest developments in their young
My other friend experienced a different kind of
winter. Last fall, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her days were
spent commuting to Boston for chemotherapy and then to New York City for
radiation therapy. But that was then. Now it’s springtime and she’s sitting
here with us, remarkably as lively and optimistic as always.
A new awareness. That the road isn’t as endless as it once seemed all those years ago.
My news of the winter is our big house renovation
and the progress on my book. Other than that, my husband and I are both working
much the same as we always did, the weekday routine punctuated by breaks on the
weekend unless, well, we have to work.
Throughout our lunch together, between the bits
and pieces of conversation shared with the genuine love and concern we have for
each other, I detect a new theme. An awakening. Though we come to each other on
this day from golf courses and medical centers and books and reimagined houses,
there’s a new common denominator between us. A new awareness. That the road
isn’t as endless as it once seemed all those years ago.
There’s a shared sense at our table that it’s
time to bring a new consciousness to bear on how we’re spending our days, how
we’re designing our moments, on what we’re planning to embrace and what we’re
going to leave behind. It’s time to get living.
And what will that more purposeful life look like
for us? Each of us will have to answer that for herself, for what satisfies and
gratifies one tends to be very different from another. But it’s worth thinking
about. It’s time.
I said yes to the lunch. And maybe that’s a step in the right direction.
As I leave my friends and step back into the
comfort of my routine, my thoughts are still at lunch. What is that life for me?
My husband and I are so busy working, no doubt necessary at this point to pay
for the renovation. But the house will be finished soon. Then what? We’re so deeply
entrenched in our workday routines that a Tuesday lunch with friends is
something so alien to me, something so out of the ordinary, something that
might easily have been passed up in favor of work. Fortunately, it wasn’t.
I said yes to the lunch. And maybe that’s a step
in the right direction. Maybe that’s an acknowledgement that what my friends
and I are realizing rings true.
It’s time to get living.
Photo by Lisa Segal
About the Writer
Rita Lussier is a writer, runner, and optimist who writes and runs to stay optimistic. “For the Moment” is her way of capturing time before it slips away. Find more of her moments at ritalussier.com