I watch about 3 movies every 10 years. But one of my absolute favorites is Lonesome Dove. Though 6 hours long, I used to watch it every few days while “bored” growing up on the farm. At the end, after Gus tragically dies, my hero, Capt. Call (Tommy Lee Jones) sees his life in all its stages flash by him in a vision. And if you’re human, you bawl.
I have those visions. I’ve had them since I began my trek down the path of recovery. The past comes back to me, and I watch it play out.
Yesterday, while sitting outside eating lunch (stupid Delta variant, seriously people, “Only you can prevent forest fires and Covid,” please get yours shots) a late 90s/early 2000s playlist blared, and pieces of my life flashed before me.
First, a song from high school, Shaggy, “Wasn’t Me,” (I didn’t say it was all good music), then from college, Five for Fighting, “Superman,” and then law school, The Frey, “How to Save a Life.” Many other songs and a million memories in between.
So today, I took to Spotify and created a playlist entitled, “Old Days.” God, I love the old days. The song “Graduation,” played. A heartfelt girl band song. “As our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.” I saw myself in that maroon tassel, and I thought of that warm day. The last official one at Bowman High.
“Where we gonna be when we’re 25?” That made me laugh. But 18-year-old me wondered and worried (a lot). And she worked. She worked her tail off. She saw so much ahead.
And then 25-year-old me, she had a fancy, new law degree. A big diploma and some awards on the wall, and not a fricken clue what to do with it all. So she worked her tail off. She assumed she’d figure it all out in time.
But then life changed. A lot. That’s the big red blotch, right smack dab in the middle of the timeline.
We just celebrated my hubby’s 40th birthday. I remember when 40 was so old. I remember my dad’s surprise (that wasn’t) birthday party, in the back of a legendary small-town bar, with a boob cake (my mom has a great sense of humor, and it was the early 90s). 40 was old!
I’m now rounding the bend, closing in on 40, but I don’t feel a day over 20. Truly, the only thing that dates me (ha, a lot of things date me) is when I start telling stories from college to my soon to be college frosh-nanny, and realize she doesn’t know about a landline, and a computer lab (we had to WALK to a computer lab between classes to check our e-mail, we carried and READ newspapers or logged onto Yahoo news).
I’m closing in on 40, with a new life, a new perspective, and an awful lot of uncertainty. But man, I’m so happy. It all just feels right. Right now. All that hard work really did pay off. I could ask, “Where am I gonna be when I’m 50?” But I don’t. I’m right where I need to be.
When I see the visions, when I hear, “I’m sixteen for a moment, caught in-between 10 and 20,” I don’t regret any of it. I don’t take any of it back. Even the hurt. Even my daily balance of medical and mental issues. I’m excited to turn 40. I’m now that old parent, and I feel wiser than ever. And God, I hope I have a good hundred years left in me.
Stay Forever Young, my friends. And keep close those Friends Forever.
Half time goes by Suddenly you’re wise Another blink of an eye Sixty-seven is gone The sun is getting high We’re moving on
I’m ninety-nine for a moment And dying for just another moment And I’m just dreaming Counting the ways to where you are
Fifteen, there’s still time for you Twenty-two, I feel her too Twenty-three, you’re on your way Every day’s a new day ~ 100 Years by Five For Fighting
*If you note the 1994 date on the photograph, let me be the first to tell you it's incorrect by nearly a decade. While my mother enjoys a fab sense of humor, her camera skills are "interesting." Two times in her life, she somehow took two sets of photos on one roll of film (ask her about it and she'll laugh). But don't ask a young person about film, because they'll just stare at you ...