Here’s the thing about meeting people after many many years. They are anchored to a version of you that may no longer define you. They are convinced that you owe it to them to follow-through on your earlier life plans.
Does it read bitter?
He met an ex-colleague after more than half-a-decade. It was like any such meeting. Fake warmth to masquerade stocktaking about who did better in the lost time. Offering pleasantries only enough to veil judging and pontificating.
“Dude, howsoever you want to frame it, you’ve done a career suicide. I am sure you know it but won’t care to admit.”
“The only thing I know for sure is what I have been able to avoid. And it is suicide by career.”
“Well, at least you’ve still got defensive reasoning skills. That was wise-ass.”
“Ha! Here’s another one for you then – we all have strength enough to bear failure; either someone else’s or our own. It is the weight of others’ success that crushes us. But only till the time we don’t realize that life is a single-player game.”
He had realized it. His former colleague thought that it was a failure coping mechanism. May be. Who knows?!