When I was 23, I was talking with a friend from college. We'd known each other for 4 years which, at the time, seemed to be such a long time. We were already looking back, already gaining perspective on the past and I said, "I knew you when...you were doing men." She could say the same thing to me and it became code for the passage of time, for all the changes that life brings. Tomorrow, I'll be traveling to Madison, Wisconsin for my friend Lara's wedding and I'll be meeting up and celebrating with many of my friends from college. These are people I have known for close to 26 years.
They knew me when I had long permed hair. They knew me when I dated men. They knew me when I drank cheap beer. They knew me when I'd do anything on a dare. They knew me when I didn't yet know myself.
And I knew them...
I knew him when he had a mullet. I knew her when she did shots in a dive bar. I knew her when she'd never lived abroad. I knew her when she smoked. I knew her when she slept on a mattress in an entryway. And there was one I knew of and thought that meant I knew her.
We knew each other before...before we became social workers and psychologists and yogis and business people and filmmakers and writers and teachers and couples and parents and all the things we become over time.
And we still know each other after all of that.
It is a gift to watch people grow and change and find their way in the world.
This weekend, we'll settle in and tell our stories and talk about what's next because, even as we reside in the after, we know this moment is also before all that is to come.
Before and after. After and before.