I recently went to a friend’s birthday party. She’s a friend from when I used to be a zookeeper (I haven’t been a zookeeper for more than 2 years now). I don’t talk to her often, but I still enjoy hanging out when I can. At this party were other people that I used to hang out with quite a bit when we worked together. And then I quit. And now I hardly see them at all.
It also got me thinking about how my life would be different had a stayed at that job. I might have never met one of my best friends, whom I met in grad school. I might have never met my boyfriend. I might never have gone to some of the places I’ve been or experienced the things I have experienced since quitting that job. On the other hand, maybe I missed out on other opportunities. Maybe I would have made different friends, found a different boyfriend, gone to different places. And now I’ll never know.
Of course, I can’t change any of that now. And I’m completely okay with that. It was the best decision I could have made at the time and I don’t for a moment regret the choice I made.
I do miss spending time with my old friends. Our different lives and different schedules mean that there isn’t much time to get together. It was much easier when I saw them every day. But that is really the only thing about that job that I miss. I knew at the birthday party that I was missing out on spending time with them. I wasn’t as close to them as I used to be. I wasn’t up on current events in their lives, I wasn’t privy to the inside jokes.
But that path is behind me, the door closed. I continue on my current path, happy with a decision I made 2 and a half years ago when I was feeling down and out. I’m happy with the path I did take. I’m happy with my new career even though it wasn’t the career I had envisioned for myself when I was 5 or 6 and had decided that I would be a zookeeper. I never thought I would be a teacher, but it’s quite possibly the best decision I could have made for myself.
I hope my friends understand.