(the following is an exercise in "what if?")
Hard to believe I've been writing this for over five years now. Back when I started, I was a 31-year-old wannabe know-it-all in an ill-advised marriage and with a life going nowhere so fast you'd have thought "Nowhere" was a stop on the Shinkansen. Five years of college and a passed CPA exam later, I'm making more money in one year than I used to make in three, I'm back in Boston where I belong, and in a couple months' time I'll be a first-time father at 37 (we've already decided on a name---he'll be David Roger Doucette. Funny, because my brother gave his firstborn our dad's name for a middle name as well, and I decided I'd do that almost 15 years ago! Great minds think alike!) I'll let the wife name kid #2 a couple years from now---she is awesome for honoring my desire to honor the two men who made sure I lived to adulthood---Dave is my stepfather's name. I love you always, honey.
The crazy thing about all of this is that it is remarkably in lockstep with what I'd have told you five years ago if you'd asked me "where do you see yourself in five years?" As 2010 dawned I had just divorced (or, more accurately, been divorced by---the decision was hers) my first wife, and although I will always have a place in my heart for her, I have to thank her for forcing me once and for all time to really take a long look at who I was as a person. I mean, I'd already done so during our marriage (one of the main reasons it broke up---we drifted apart, and the drift accelerated like it had the Starship Enterprise's warp drive on it once I went to college), but it really crystallized for me when I got that finalized divorce decree from the state of Nevada in the mail.
I remember the spring of 2010. "Poor college student", indeed. One reason I only weigh 170 today even as I'm pushing forty (besides all the energy expended chasing subway trains) is because I lost so much weight back then. Not since I was 19 had I really been required to make every cent stretch to its limit---and considering that nasty recession we had during the Obama years (thank you President Romney for putting the brakes on that deficit spending! Gods bless America!), it wasn't like I had much of a choice in the matter. I still remember my old buddy Jasper from TMCC saying "dude, you look like you haven't eaten in weeks! Here, come to this campus event, there's free food!" The invite's still on the table for you (and everyone else from TMCC and UNR) to come up to "Nouveau Versailles"---the wife's lasagna is out of this world (and my poor mother is still jealous that everyone in the family likes hers at Christmas dinner instead of the one I grew up eating in December...) Not to get all retro-Seinfeldian (showing my age on that one), but "you have got to see the BAY-BEE!"
Speaking of old friends, my 20th high school reunion's coming up---and just to be different I'll actually think about gracing the old class of '95 with my presence this year. I mean, the cat's been out of the bag for years that I'm not in fact dead like I told the reunion committee 16 years ago. I swore I wouldn't come back to New England unless I could return as a conquering hero. It may have taken a bit longer than I expected, but oddly enough, at 37 my future finally looks as bright as it should have when I was much younger. Better late than never.