We were sitting in a café in our neighborhood, my best friend’s (and therefore also my) younger sister and I, tucked cozily in a corner by the window. It was a pleasant mid-morning on a hazy Tuesday. We spoke for hours without realizing the ticking clock, touching on many things – too many to list and some too personal to divulge. At one point, we touched deeply on the topic of opportunity. I can’t remember who brought it up first but this matters little; when I’m with her, it feels like I’m in the company of my younger self because that’s who she reminds me of, but mostly I’m just in awe of her personal growth and grateful that her journey allows me to reflect on my own long way back home – physically and back to the self.
“I’ve been thinking about opportunity a lot these days,” I confessed. She nodded her head in understanding. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot… because my life, the bulk of it and key moments, they’re shaped by – the result of – the opportunities I’ve received at particular points in my life, you know? It makes me think of timing too; I’m trying to consider both. Nothing in life is simply coincidental. What does it mean, to have particular doors open at particular times, phases, in our lives?”
“I still don’t have an answer,” I said with a laugh after a long second of introspective silence.
“Like you, I’m… aware, what it means to be privileged. Sometimes I come back to a particular memory from last year’s summer – it affected me so much, what a friend said and how he said it – it stuck. So much that I even wrote about it in my blog and I can vividly recall it even now. He was one of my intern friends? He studied locally and was just starting out (work-wise) last year. It was just us, that meet. He sat directly in front of me and at one point said this, “The opportunities that you’re always trying to do away with – I’d kill to have them. What I’d kill to have them happen to me.” He looked me straight in the eyes when he said this – it surprised me. I was genuinely taken aback. Dumbfounded, “ I admitted to her.
“Sometimes I think I’m the wrong person to have been given these kind of opportunities – being away, living abroad, seeing the world, living differently without a bond to tie me back home and no loans to speak of …what others would kill to have. I’m aware, I’m all too aware. I took some time to reply him and when I finally did, I admitted as much, “Sometimes I think I’m the wrong person to have been given these opportunities …because all I do is keep trying to find my way back home.””
“No matter the riches of the world – maybe I’m just an anomaly – it’s home that I keep trying to return to.”
We stayed quiet for several long seconds, sipping our drinks without exchanging anymore words.
In silence, we understood this: there are years that asks questions and years that answer. Simple as that.