sometimes, i feel as though i'm at that point in my life that will always be remembered as the best point. the one i'll be the most nostalgic over. i see older people sigh over toddlers and new babies, get a wistful look in their eye at bridal showers, knowingly smile as a younger person tells them about a new job or their first promotion. they say to enjoy it, to drink it in. they remember those days like it was just yesterday. and truly, i understand. how alive you can feel as your life changes in leaps and bounds, as my friends get married, have babies, cultivate the beginning of promising careers. everyone doesn't have it all - far from it. some struggle to find love, some struggle to have children, some struggle with their careers. but they have some of it. and i know, for all the accomplishments we achieve now, the reason older generations sigh wistfully over this period is that those accomplishments hold so much promise. the marriage will last forever - there's no way to see it any other way right now. your baby will be a happy, fulfilled, successful adult - and why not, why shouldn't that happen, it's all going so well right now. and your first promotion is the first step to more success and more raises and more responsibility - what could possibly get in your way?
but they know, it doesn't always turn out that way. marriages can end, people can change. children aren't always successful, they will stumble, they may crash your car, they may get expelled from school. success at work does not always beget more success - economies change, people get fired, you may burn out. all those possibilities - unfulfilled.
and yet. and yet - i hear their sighs of wistfulness, i know where they are coming from, i understand to a certain extent - but i think they're wrong. when i look back i've felt as though the "these are the days" mentality seems to be the only constant.
i remember when i was a senior in high school, it all felt so possible - that summer after senior year, with no cares, spending all my time with my dearest friends, falling for my first boyfriend, long days at the beach. and i went on to have a hard first few months in college, that boyfriend broke up with me, and i missed my old life like crazy. i thought my life will never be that good again - never as good as that summer after senior year.
and i remember when i was a senior in college - my roommate and i had a huge apartment where we threw some pretty good parties (if i say so myself), i watched tv on thursday night with the same group of friends without fail, the whole gang took a spring break trip together, we spent lazy weekends at bars and long nights at our computers getting over the finish line. and i remember driving away, headed to nashville, really, truly scared, that i had made a mistake in leaving philadelphia. that my life could never match that last year of college.
and i remember when i was near the end of grad school - i never seemed to stop laughing, every friday was spent at a quiet happy hour with my close girlfriends, i was headed off to a job i loved, i seemed to be bursting with happiness at every moment. and that first night in new york, sleeping on my new apartment's wood floor, expecting the movers the next day - excited for my new city and my new job, but mourning the fact that my life would never be that good again, never be as good as it was in that last year of grad school.
and now. here we are now, back where this post started. where it seems as though my life and the lives around me are at their height - the most exciting, the most fulfilling, the happiest they will ever be. and so i smile and nod when older people tell me to enjoy it now, that these are the days - i smile, and i nod, and i know, at least just this once, that they're wrong. i know that eventually these days, this time, will end. that life will disappoint me, that i will disappoint myself, that my loved ones will disappoint me.it's happened many times before. so yes, i'll enjoy these times now and i'll drink it in and i'll savor the good moments and all the possibility. these are the days, indeed. and if life has taught me anything, i know there will be more. they will be different in the happiness they bring and the fulfillment they provide, but there will be more. that much i know is true.
"i remember one morning, getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. you know, that feeling? and i remember thinking to myself this is the beginning of happiness. this is where it starts. and of course there will always be more. it never occurred to me it wasn't the beginning. it was happiness. is was the moment. right then." -- the hours