A group of young people is gathered in my back yard for a potluck supper. One by one and two by two, I talk with the guests.
One couple tells me about their honeymoon, a backpacking trip to Europe. “Madrid was the best,” the husband says. “We saw an exhibit of Picasso and it was awesome.”
I ask about career plans and his wife says she is undecided. “I’m studying economics and sports medicine,” she says.
Another young man says, “Someday I might open my own restaurant.” And he demonstrates by making sushi at my picnic table. I feel energized by all the energy in this group.
“I love their sense of adventure and possibility,” I tell my husband later while we’re washing dishes.
“But did anybody ask about you?” he says.
“No,” I say, “but I don’t mind.” I think how at this stage of my life, I’m not center stage—and don’t need to be. I had my turn and now I’m happy to be in the audience.
Looking back, I can see the young woman who talked so much about her life and never asked her listeners about theirs, all those parents and grandparents, in-laws and elders.
It’s too late to thank most of them. Instead, I have become the listener.