There are some feelings we label as young. Then, with each new birthday, we don’t feel so bad if they become fewer and farther between.
Like sitting at the kitchen table and swapping five-year-old stories just so you don’t forget them.
Like the burst of adrenaline running from your car to your best friend’s back porch in a downpour.
Like the sound of lyrics and melody guiding you along back roads at midnight.
Like the hum of fluorescent convenience store lighting while you waver between king-sized candy bars and hoagies for the road.
Like the yelling of your name over a chorus of strangers’ chatter.
Like the buh-beep alarm as you open the garage door to your parents’ laundry room and their heads turn slightly, pausing as you come inside and stay awhile.
There is this school of thought—threading through the songs and books and movies and newspaper articles we digest over cups of too-caffeinated and sugared coffee—that says we don’t get to grow excited about those moments when we’re middle-aged.
As if, if only for some short expanse of time, we are allotted doses of small pleasures: breaking the stillness of pool water on Memorial Day or stirring the last ripple before toweling off on Labor Day.
It’s as if someone told us we had to pass along those moments because there were only so many handed to us and we are using more than our share of the pie.
Instead, we’re left to replay the memories, over and over, that we once held as toddlers and teenagers.
And that’s depressing, if not untrue.
I wish someone would remind me, encourage me, demand each evening that I capture those young moments. Get under the covers. Scribble a few sentences of thanks. Turn off the light and prepare for tomorrow.
Maybe then, at 45 and 67, I could read my days like rollercoaster tracks, incrementally speeding up and slowing down. Watch the rising and falling, and in the falling, have faith in the rising again.
I have seen the excitement of a 95-year-old woman. I know it’s real. I know it doesn’t fade because some movie somewhere said we could only be infinite or fully alive for a few blinks in the greater life we’re living.
In the rush of fast-forward and DVR, I hope we don’t forget. I hope we don’t digest too many articles telling us to dismiss what we once had, suck it up, and deal with the fact that those moments are forever gone.
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