There are those for whom the best days of their lives were their teenage years- high school, summer break, all the romantic crap that John Mellencamp and Brian Adams sang about in the 80’s.
Then there are the rest of us whose high school years were made a living hell, mostly by that first group who remember their internment so fondly. As I stack the years on top of each other, I try to remember what I would call “the best days of my life”… but nothing seems to fit the description. It’s not that I’ve led a shitty life- quite the opposite, I’ve been blessed in every chapter of my autobiography.
I realized recently that these days- my thirties, the era when I’m supposed to be disillusioned and start growing that old-man shell that I’ll carry with me to the grave -are absolutely the best days of my life. Every metric I can think of is soaring to new heights: I have more friends now than I ever did in high school or college. My career is moving to weirder and more interesting places than I ever imagined as a student.
I’m more active and in better physical shape than my younger sapling-thin self could have imagined. That old-man shell really only seems to be growing around my business sense, protecting me from snake-oil salesmen like Taxi and A&R Select. The rest of me is still fascinated by everything from electronics to the ways my cat defies physics. I am comfortable with who I am, and I never felt that way in my teens or twenties.
An Awfully Long Time To Suck
Who the hell dreams about being a teenager- or even their twenties -like it’s some kind of existential peak? Unless you plan on dying at 38, you’re setting yourself up for a pretty long downhill slide.
I think some people look past their mid-twenties and think, “well, that’s all the fun I’m having in this life, time to get serious.” As Cards Against Humanity says, it’s time to grow old, buy some stuff, have kids, move to Florida, and die. It’s an imaginary burden that simply isn’t fair. People earn new degrees and change careers in their fifties. People travel the world with kids whether they’re rich or not. I don’t know anyone who has made all the friends they’re ever going to make by the time they’re 30.
The best days of our lives are any day we’re not sitting on our asses wishing we could do or be something else. The long downward slide doesn’t begin at a specific age, it begins when the Comfortable becomes more important than the Struggle. Maybe if I keep working at it, I can keep the best days of my life going until the day I die.