Every once in a while, something surprises me.

I’ll admit I’m not the most excitable person. I’m not the kind of human that is surprised that often – I’ve developed this unhealthy cynicism that, at times, creates an air of “it was bound to happen sometime” in my life.

Still, sometimes I’m surprised.

Take last night – just as I was going to bed (early) I received a call from my friend Nick. If you would have asked me who would have called, I guarantee Nick would have been at the bottom of the list. I didn’t expect it. I was surprised. For once.

Nick is a friend that often fills me with envy. He’s the one that jetted off to Ireland with nothing, and he’s now jetted back – to Florida, this time. I’m not jealous of where he’s at, but I’m jealous of the strength he has to simply pack up and go. Not everyone would be willing to give up anything to live in Ireland for over a year with no steady job and no prospect of staying. Nick gave up everything to do that.

And, unfortunately for him, his visas (or lack thereof) caught up with him and he was forced to move back to the States – again with nothing. I’m too attached to my stuff, to my city, to my life to ever think of doing something like that. I’d never have the gall to put Kerrie through that. Security or adventure? I’ll always choose security.

Nick passed on a little information about another of my friends — Owen — and how he’s doing after being the first of our little group to become a father. Owen’s always been one of the most unsettled of my friends — the one that, in high school, would puke on the pavement just to show you that he would be willing to eat it. He was the guy that bragged about doing unmentionable acts under the lunch table after being “swept” at school.

Of course now he’s a dad. This is all very surprising to me as well – not that he’s become a father, but how much he’s embraced it. How excited he is. Owen who at his puke is now Owen who cleans up dirty diapers. Brilliant.

I’ve made a lot of friends in my life, but It’s always refreshing to see someone in your close inner circle make a jump that you might not be willing to make, or take on a responsibility that you’ve been hemming and hawing over for years. Just like a fragile ecosystem, we’re all playing our parts – each of us has a role to fill, and we’re doing our best to make it true, to make it as real as possible without losing our own identity.

Sometimes all we want is for our friends to be proud of us. And as far as Nick and Owen are concerned, I am. I’m proud of them, and I’m thrilled to have them as friends. Each exhibits qualities that I often find hard to reach — a sense of adventure, a willingness to let go, an “okayness” with responsibility, with changing roles, and with growing up faster than one might want to.

I could probably learn a thing or two from the both of them.

This was lovingly handwritten on March 7th, 2006