“I’ll admit it,” he says, “I’ve done a lot of things in my life just for the story.”
“Somehow I’m not surprised,” I say.
He’s one of my bravest friends. Among the most daring people I’ve ever known. Sometimes it strays over into recklessness. Thankfully, he’s managed to pull back at those moments, in the nick of time.
But we both used to hang out with folks who weren’t that judicious. We both know folks who didn’t make it. Friends who passed away because they took the wrong risks at the wrong times. A lot of us came close. Sometimes people are surprised to learn this about me. These days I’m a very stable person. Often find myself as the automatic Mom Friend in social settings. The one reminding you to drink water and baking cookies.
But once upon a time, I was wild and fearless. And I ran in a pack of other wildcats.
“Hey, we both have good stories,” he says. “You have to admit that.”
I laugh. “We do indeed.” I hesitate, and then add, “It’s actually come in handy as a cognitive reframe, too.”
“Oh?” he says. “How so?”
“Today’s crisis is tomorrow’s good story,” I say.
“It’s true!” I insist.
“I know,” he replies. “That’s why it’s funny.”
“When things are going off the rails, in spite of my best efforts, it’s something I try to remind myself while dealing with whatever ginormous mess I’m dealing with: This is going to be a good story later,” I say.
“Of course,” I say, “there’s a limit to such things. It’s only a good story if tomorrow comes. If you don’t destroy yourself in the process.”
“Or the entire world, if you’re a billionaire or something,” he adds.
“Exactly,” I say.
We spend the rest of the time talking about friends who have passed away, the crises that took them away from us, and our deep appreciation that we got to know them for even a brief time.