A couple weekends ago I had the opportunity to attend a celebration ceremony and farewell provided by my husband’s colleagues. My husband was being presented with awards and accolades for his recent accomplishments in his field—before our big move to Europe. It was a lazy afternoon with the sparkling sun dangling in the powder blue sky. Three or four lonely cirrus clouds dappled the firmament. The host’s house was lusciously perfect. Perched high on a hill, it overlooked a natural lake of the most beautiful cerulean.
Everything was laid out and planned to perfection. The upper terrace of the patio featured an umbrella table, stainless steel grill and a stone fireplace (for those times one wants to be outside on a starry night huddled near a crackling fire). Adirondack chairs for seating flanked the sides of the patio. A large glass pitcher of homemade sangria adorned the buffet table and gleamed fuchsia in the muted afternoon sun. There were multiple ice buckets filled with every beverage variety imaginable—all waiting patiently to be imbibed by those attending the party. Down in the grass were pristine white tables and underneath one balcony was another patio with tables full of delicious food.
In addition to the exquisite beauty of every detail of the estate and the lake that it overlooked, I found myself surrounded by a concentrated group of high-status, highly-ranking, highly educated individuals. I felt conspicuous. I always dreaded being asked “and… what do you do for a living?” primarily because I am a full time student and work side jobs to pay my bills. All of the other women at the party were physicians who were specialists (even sub-specialists) in their fields. Their husbands were the firefighters or “househusbands”. Some of these women (and a few men) had completed 4-5 year residencies and some were juggling 2-3 difficult medical fellowships. I was inspired by such overwhelming ambition and such an earnest regard for decade (plus a few years) educational commitments.
Despite vacillating thoughts and feeling under-accomplished (compared to my surroundings) it was a fun to momentarily indulge the life-style of the unduly well-off, educated, young and successful. I did notice that despite the high education level of my surroundings, all of the people were welcoming and kind. There was not a smidgen of pretension in the group.
“It is nice to come home in the evenings, pour a glass of wine and wander down to the lake while the last moments of sunlight glisten upon the lake. Life is short, you have to enjoy every moment.” I agreed with them. This was truly a sentiment that I fully embraced. I only wished that I could have been as academically and financially accomplished as they were.