Earlier today I went out to go and get coffee. While I was stuck in Saturday afternoon traffic, watching the sad faces of the adults in cars around me, I found myself jamming out to some of my old time favorites: The Cure, The Smiths, New Order, The Psychedelic Furs and…Michelle Shocked. I had completely forgotten about this folksy song she sang called Anchorage. In high school, it had always been one of my favorite songs. If you’ve never heard it the song is about two friends who have grown apart and they write letters to each other, reminiscing about the old days. I can remember laughing with my friends about the day, as if it would ever come, when we would someday be old, and we would look back on “the best days of our life”.
As many of you who are reading this know, those days come quicker than you ever imagine. One day you’re driving around with your friends singing at the top of your lungs and the next you’re sitting in traffic on a Saturday afternoon, a sad look on your face and a list of “things to do”. I hate those lists.
Several years ago, while at my brother in law’s high school graduation, I listened intently to the valedictorians speech. Isn’t it strange that when you’re younger, you could care less about those speeches but as you age those speeches seem to hold such hope and such youthful wisdom? The girl who spoke talked about days to come in college when they would make new friends and go their separate ways. She joked about high school being “the best days of our life” and then followed up by saying “hopefully not”, which garnered great laughter from the audience. I was not laughing. In fact, it brought tears to my eyes.
I’d like to say I’m not someone who stays stuck in the past but the reality is, if I’m being completely honest, I am definitely someone that likes to relive the best days of my life. I like talking about them and joking about them. I like thinking about old friends and wonder what they’re up to these days. I’m not a Facebook hater. In fact, one of the reasons I love Facebook is because I can stalk the lives of my friends and find out what’s going on with them today. I love when I receive messages from people I haven’t heard from in years. And just recently, one of my closest friends and I decided to become pen pals, even though we talk several times a week.
But it got me thinking; what were the best days of my life? I guess I have many. Last night, my husband Alex and I went to a movie with our friend Melissa. Afterwards we went to eat and as we drove home I found myself not wanting the night to end. It was cold and rainy outside and it reminded me of cold, rainy October nights in high school when my friends and I would drive around for hours, listening to music and making up personal jokes that would have even deeper meaning on Monday. Those were the days of Trendy Hairlip and the boys we would meet at Denny’s and gas stations. Those were the days of shopping all day at thrift stores, long before that was cool, in search of the perfect used flannel. Those were the days of going to music stores to buy tapes in the “alternative” section, which did not mean heavy metal, but implied New Wave and Punk. Those were the days when fries were dipped in Frosty’s at Wendy’s, every cigarette tasted delicious and the idea of a kiss was exciting.
I miss those days.
I could go on and on and on. And as I sit here and think about ALL of the good days of my life, from days with my exes and old best friends, to days with my husband and my friends today, what I realize is that life sometimes just gets richer and richer. The memories are like a scrapbook in my mind. And most people don’t go through old scrapbooks and try to recreate the old pictures, they just appreciate them and glue down the new photographs. That’s what life is really about. New photographs.
But yeah, I’ve had some really good days. And I’ll continue to have some really good days. In fact, today will probably be one for the scrapbook…I just don’t know it yet.