I'm reading a book recommended by a friend that provides some thought-provoking exercises on how to become a happier person. Among the suggestions: write letters of gratitude to people who have been or are meaningful in your life. I think I do write about people who are important to me, but it's been quite the while since I wrote to someone. I think this is an exercise that can be both intimate and shared, so I'm going to begin with this message, to thank the friend who recommended the book.
For not being what I expected at first at all, and then for being so interesting to watch, and then for including me a little bit on the trip to your better self, thank you, John.
When we first met I think we were far enough away from one another on the life spectrum so as to not find threads in common, and that was fine in its time. Proximity and circumstance gave us some chances and I will say some of those early interactions were not easy on me. I'm sure we had one or another conversation where you might have hoped I had less of an opinion - not my strong suit then, and not now either. But people are never all what they may appear to be, a lesson I've learned many times over, and again with you.
Your strong opinions contrary to my own have been mostly wrong-headed, but your devotion to family, your appreciation of culture - your own, mine and so many others, your taste in food and music (and the attendant YouTube advertisements), your intellect and willingness for self-reflection, self-correction, and your migration to a life lived as opposed to spent, all these have been so fascinating to talk about, learn from, and watch. You've been private, as you should be on matters of import, but not unfair about what you have learned. Moreover, you have been as interested in me as you have been in expressing your own thoughts - not too much, not so little as to seem disaffected. It's really been just the right touch, and not just for me, but for Sam and Tony, too. I'm grateful to you, and I don't think I've said that.
So, thank you. I'm glad to have been around for this part of your life, and I'm more glad you have been there to be a part of this time in mine.
This does not mean you do not owe me my own decadent dinner some time. You totally do.