"Well, well," said James as he took a sip of his beer, "look who finally decided to show up to one of our reunions."
"Hello James," replied Emily, as she took a seat at the bar next to her old classmate. "It's been a while. How have you been?"
"Can't complain," James said, with a smirk. "I've been doing well for myself. Running my own business and making a good living. How about you?"
"I've been doing well too," said Emily, a hint of pride in her voice. "I work for twitter and have climbed the ranks pretty quickly. It's been a fulfilling career."
James raised an eyebrow. "No way! I wouldn't have thought that, given our academic records back in high school. You were always the top of the class, while I was more focused on having a good time."
"And yet," said Emily with a wry smile, "I seem to recall you were always very popular, always surrounded by friends and admirers. I envied your social skills back then."
James let out a bark of laughter. "Ha! And yet, here we are, with you earning a higher salary than me. Who would have thought?"
Emily shrugged. "It just goes to show that grades aren't everything. I may have been a good student, but I struggled with socializing and building relationships. It took me a long time to develop those skills and to become confident in myself."
"And for me," said James, taking another sip of his beer, "I may have been a social butterfly, but I never had the drive or the discipline to succeed in my career. I always took the easy way out, never pushing myself to reach my full potential."
They sat in silence for a moment, both lost in thought.
"But," said Emily, breaking the silence, "we're here now, and we've both achieved success in our own way. I only regret that if I could I would've taken more risks in my life, I got comfortable at my job, I got used to work for 12 hours every day and time flies you know. My parents are proud of her daughter but sometimes I feel I am not happy with all this, I feel that just now, 15 year later, I am able to stop and see myself as a free human being"
"Yeah," said James, with a smile. "I get you. I had the same felling when everyone else was getting their high praised degrees and I was trying to become a professional driver. My parents didn't want that for my future and everyone was against me, but that helped me get where I am now. I learned so much about mechanics that I now have my own shop and 5 car dealers. I get to delegate most of my tasks and I take a free week once in a while, never have I missed any school event of any of my 4 kids, we can take long vacations, I am happy. But society does not applaud my type of trade or path, the say I am just lucky"
"Well, I do admire you, James"replied Emily, "and I am sure your employees and kids do as well".
They clinked their glasses together, both smiling at the unexpected turn their lives had taken.