I think there are points in your life where time stops.
Those perfect moments where you close your eyes… (maybe there’s a ray of sun dusting the top of your forehead) a self-satisfied smile creeps across your face, and you sigh. Deeply. You sigh deeply and think to yourself, This is where I’m supposed to be.
Right here, right now—this is where I’m supposed to exist.
Mine are easy to remember.
Waking up on the living room floor of my best friend’s home. We’re ten. We stayed up watching seasons of “The O.C.” until our eyes grew heavy. Too many blankets and pillows are strewn about. My stomach hurts from overeating Jelly Bellies and crackers with Boursin cheese. We get yelled at by her older sister for leaving the cheese out all night. “It’s expensive cheese!” she’s 16-years-old and knows how to scold.
Strolling the streets of Monterosso, Cinque Terre—in awe—with another one of my best friends. The chalky oranges, reds, and yellows of the buildings don’t seem real to me, even now in memory. The people, the smells, the scene. It epitomizes the European epic you’re supposed experience in your twenties—and it really was just that.
Lying in the field behind my old preschool. It’s 1am. The grass is a little wet—mildew from it being the end of spring. We’re watching clouds move in the moonlight. It’s made up of silky greys and streaks of silver against the softest but deepest black. It’s really beautiful. We don’t even know it, but we’re holding our breath—taking in the micro-movements of something we don’t look enough at.
Wind ruffling the tresses around my face. I’m on a bike. I’m on a bike in Scandinavia, in a proper bike lane. It’s 4am and I’ve just left my friend’s dorm after a party. It’s the end of summer and beginning of fall. You know that transition? It’s kinda sad but also kinda nice. It’s not exactly warm, but perfectly crisp out in the middle of the night. I’m racing down that one sweet little hill on my bike route home. It’s the perfect slope and the perfect length—where you can stand up almost straight on your pedals and really lean into it. The sky’s clear and the stars are sparkly as ever. It’s the best.
It’s weird how vividly I remember these moments on their own, but I forget about them all the time. It makes me think, I’m getting old. Not in the my-brain-is-turning-into-mush way. (Trust me, I’m 26—I get the scoffs.) Not in the gripping-at-my-last-few-dregs-of-youth either—at least not entirely.
But in the way where you’re so hyper-focused on getting ahead, making sure your future is bright and brimming with rewards (I want to say return on investment, gross), thinking of five years later—married? Kids? House in the suburbs? Moneeeeeey?—instead of right now and right here.
Often enough, we’re just thinking about getting to Friday.
I hate that I’m forgetting. Life is a series of a lot of things—borrowing money, decisions, dentist appointments, eaten apples—but maybe it’s also a series of remembering and forgetting.
We forget parts of us to move forward into new, better improved versions of ourselves. Sometimes we forget because we need to heal. We forget full periods of our lives altogether because that was then and this is now. There’s no point looking back, right?
I guess my point is, never forget who you are. It’s easy to forget when you’re constantly iterating… on yourself. And even when you’re not trying to be a better person everyday, you might be getting caught in the undertow (Linkin Park reference, you feel me?).
Sometimes (OK, lately), I don’t feel like myself because I’m worried about new worries and anxious about new anxieties. I’m overwhelmed by all the new shit that’s cropped up in my life because I’m moving forward—and moving forward means stepping into new insecurities. It’s a great thing, but feels like shit sometimes. That’s just growing up.
But, remember the goodies. That helps. As many as there are bad, there are moments we wish to relive every now and then. You might’ve been a complete idiot back then or maybe that was before you became “woke AF”—but that’s still you. 100% allllll you, right there and then. For that moment, that’s where you were meant to exist. Frozen in time.
And that’s worth remembering.