I had lunch today with a friend from law school - one of those rare people I actually liked and respected. We were friendly, but not really friends...and I only say that because I would not want to overstate our relationship, because friendship is never something I assume.
But anyway, I always liked her, and I often felt like we were very similar. We had both been out of school several years before law school (4 for both of us, I think), we both had a passion for the law and criminal law in particular that was stronger than our desire to excel or have recognition or whatever else motivates people in law school, we both cared a lot about pleasing our professors and probably all other authority figures in our lives, and at least on my side I saw her as someone who was grounded and real in a way I did not perceive in many of my classmates. But despite many similarities that I perceived, I also saw her as the perfect person I wished I could be - prettier, smarter, more motivated, and just generally being where I wished I could be in my life in every way. She was that girl in high school who is so perfect but also so nice that you don't hate her, you just wish you were her.
Unsurprisingly, it turns out her life is not perfect either. And all that does is make me admire her more. She is seriously one of the most amazing people. Brilliant and beautiful...and really strong, too. It is very encouraging to hear someone else say, after many challenges, "I am happy with my life." Even though I am sure it has taken so much to get to that place, and that sometimes those words are less that heartfelt or are said through tears, I really respect her for facing life head on and never giving up on herself or on the future.
It's funny, but in a twisted way, seeing that her life is less than perfect only makes me want to be like her even more. I am happy with who I am, and I don't want to be anyone else, but I don't think it is bad to occasionally meet real life heroes. I hope she has those people in her life, too, and I hope that some day soon she feels like her life is truly awesome every single day without hesitation and without regret.
Oh, and top of all of the other cool thing about her, she recently started a blog that is touching and honest and insightful, and way more articulate than mine will ever be. I hope we have many more lunches before she moves away in the fall!