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Looking Back, Looking Forward, Living Now

I remember the feeling of being in college, looking forward to an all night party, whether going out or staying in. All my friends around, drinking, laughing, dancing, playing party games. We rarely left early and were always lucky if we made it back home in time for a shower before heading to class.

Middle age looks a little different. My 3 kids and a demanding job take up most of my time and if I’m lucky there’s still time for the errands and household chores. I can no longer decide last moment to drop everything and take a road trip or stay out all night. Life requires more planning than it did in my early 20s. There are times I miss those days.

Then a day will come along where everything falls into place and life is easy for a moment. It’s these days that help remind me that this phase of life is a good one and one day I’ll miss them too.

I was lucky to have one of these days recently. The plan was to go pick my sister up from the airport and then have lunch before heading back home. But her first flight was cancelled and she wasn’t going to make it til the next day. I was bummed that the day we had planned wasn’t going to happen, but figured it gave me more time to wrap up some projects on the major renovation happening in my house right now.

Then out of nowhere S says, “do you still want to go eat?” The answer to going to eat Mexican food is always YES for me, so I grabbed my phone to text a friend that lunch was back on and we would leave as soon as he got here. For some context, this “quick lunch” is an hour drive one direction.

The plan was go eat, straight there and back. A few hours tops. But football was on so we made a stop at a sports bar for a few drinks and to catch part of the game. We ended up staying longer than we had planned, nobody seemed to be in a huge hurry to get home. On the way home we stopped for tacos and spent the drive picking songs that we used to love.

The day was easy, all last minute plans that just fell perfectly into place. We did what we wanted and didn’t have to worry about fitting it in or getting back. We joked later, that the evening felt a little like our college nights. Go out for drinks, tacos on the way home, blasting the radio…… only we got home around 8pm. In college I wouldn’t have even been gearing up to go out. I was in bed by 10 like a responsible adult.

I woke up the next morning to the chores I avoided the day before, extra work and I still had the hour drive to go get my sister. The day before stands as a reminder that it’s important to say yes to those last minute plans more often. The everyday work is always going to be there. It didn’t magically make my life more carefree but it did make me think about how I want this phase of life to feel when I look back in another 10 or 15 years. I want it to be full of memories with my friends and family. A balance of working for the life I want and then actually taking the time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I want more easy days, hanging out with the people that mean the most to me, and I hope that those days fill up all the decades still in front of me.

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