One of my friends from high school, a fellow MD who is presently doing her residency training in Pittsburgh, came home for a 2 week vacation this month. We figured that it was a good excuse as any for our high school barkada to get together - something we rarely get to do these days - so we met up at Red Kimono in Tiendesitas last Tuesday to catch up over kamameshi rice and unlimited sushi.
It doesn't seem that long ago when we were doing the same thing over our packed lunches, sitting Indian-style on the Covered Court without caring what stains the dirty floors would leave on our golden yellow uniforms. When all we worried about was how to get our parents to extend our curfews, how to juggle exam week and Glee Club concert rehearsals without going insane, whether or not our crushes would go to the upcoming fair. When the future stretched before us, tantalizing us with its limitless possibilities, and we were so sure that we would find our place in it.
Our world has grown much bigger since then. We have grown older, if not wiser.
Our barkada has turned out its fair share of career women. Of the original eight in our group, four are medical doctors, one is a lawyer, and one is a bank officer. The other two are both based in the US, managing their own small businesses there. Two are married. Six are very single.(Can you guess which ones are which?)
Nowadays, when we get together, we talk about our classmates who have gotten married and how many babies they've had; who are still here and who are planning to leave for good. We talk about our jobs, the joy and the frustration we have with our chosen fields; we talk about "what if's" and "what could be's" and our vague plans for the future. We realize that for independent career women in our 30's, our plans are even more vague now than they used to be back in high school, and we wonder why this is so.
Nonetheless, despite the changes time has wrought on each of us, it is comforting to know that we have remained friends. It is a gift to have friends who know you as you were, know you as you are, and know who you are becoming - and stay by you regardless of who they see.
They serve as signposts in a world that has become increasingly confusing, as the blacks and whites of our youthful convictions have bled into each other to make a startling array of grays in different shades. They remain among the beacons that constantly show me where I can find home.