If you’re a country music song, you probably know the song, “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley. I was thinking about it the other day. For reference:
I’m not really interested in writing a letter to myself at 17, because it would probably consist of, “DO NOT TAKE CALCULUS, and for the love of everything, stop writing so much angsty crap on the internet”, but there is a line that says, “have no fear, these are nowhere near the best years of your life.” I love that line. That line is pretty much everything I would write to myself at seventeen, except maybe the calculus thing.
So as I was lamenting being a grownup yesterday on Twitter, I was thinking…when are the best years of my life? Are they behind me or ahead of me? Do they exist at all?
I mean, if I think about when I was happiest, flat out, it was my freshman year of college. No worries, except for this boy that I liked that didn’t like me (but that’s okay, because I won him over after three months and he married me). I made girl friends that liked me, for who I was, no questions, no modifications necessary. It was too big a school for anybody to be really cool, so it was okay to be a nerd. I took classes that were interesting, that other people were interested in also. And I started to write, to really write, to see what kind of art I could create with words. I started playing hockey and suddenly I stopped feeling fat and powerless all the time. I walked a lot, I went to the gym almost every day, and I started to get a grip on nutrition in a way that was really beneficial to me. (Less cheese, more vegetables.)
I think the rest of my life will be shaped by having concerns. I worry now about whether we’ll be able to pay all of our bills and rent, whether I’ll ever find a “real” job doing something I love, what will happen to my parents as they get older. When I look at the future, I see our family growing, but I know that children bring heaps of joy and stress and worry. As we get older, we will worry more. We will worry about whether our children will go to college, and how to pay for college, and whether they are having sex or doing drugs or just listening to really questionable music (but I just admitted I listen to country, and it doesn’t get more questionable than that.)
However, the more I think about it, even if the best years of my life are behind me, I still have a pretty long way to go and a lot to enjoy. Does anybody who is older than my wise old age of…ahem…26 want to challenge and say what the best years of their life have been, so far?
Maybe you think retirement is going to awesome, but I gotta say…I work for the elderly. And it’s kind of…not awesome. But life is what you make it, and so if awesome is what you want, awesome you shall have.