We used to run into each other often, usually as we were both walking our dogs to the park. We would stop and chat, always pleasant, part ways a few minutes later. I am not sure what exactly happened, perhaps our routes changed slightly or perhaps our timing did, but those encounters became more sporadic after a while and eventually close to a year had passed since we had seen each other last. Life was busy and frankly, I barely noticed how we had lost touch. Sometimes you only remember what you lost, once it has returned.
So one day, we did happen to be out in the same neighborhood at just the right time again. After the initial delight, us both vaguely becoming aware that it had been many months since we last talked, we chatted for a few minutes. I had been struggling with a lot of stress at work, juggling many projects and commitments, not finding enough downtime. A sense of exasperation was probably close to the surface that day, though I provided no details and rather soon redirected the conversation: “And what about you? How have you been?” There was a brief pause, then he replied “aw man, it’s been rough, honestly. I lost my job about eight months ago. Been trying to get a new one ever since …”
We continued talking for a few more minutes, then said our good-byes and went our separate ways again. It has been a few years now, but the memory of that conversation remains with me.
The lessons are still sinking in.