“Today is the greatest day
I’ve ever known
Can’t live for tomorrow
Tomorrow’s much too long”
I was in my car the other day thinking about the last time in my life that I was happiest – not to be confused with “happy” but truly “happiest.” The funny thing about remembering your life in retrospect is that you know that life was never perfect. Yet you can remember certain phases of your life as seeming pretty close to it. When you’re truly happy, life’s ups and downs don’t hit you as hard and things that would bother you on other days don’t even seem to register.
I will always remember the spring of my sophomore year of college as being “The Greatest Time of My Life.” I was 18-19 years old, in love for the first time, making the best grades I had ever made and the future seemed nothing but bright. It was a time of many firsts and I remember feeling like my entire world was ahead of me. It sounds cliche, but it was true. It felt like everything I had waited for in my life was finally there.
The last time in my life that I remember being truly happy for an extended period of time was in early 2004. I was living in Charleston and had just began a new job after a solid year of hunting. I was in the early stages of dating someone that I quickly fell unreasonably head over heels for (one of the moments when you know your heart clearly overruled your head). I was running almost daily and I felt full of energy. My days and nights were always full and life just seemed in its simplest form to be full and complete.
It was easy to see why it didn’t stay that way as each of the positives took a turn for the negative. I went through a prolonged and confusing break-up with said boyfriend. The job turned out to be less than expected, leading me to resign at year’s end. The next year, I moved back to New York.
It’s not to say that I haven’t been happy with my life since, or in New York in general. I have a wonderful job and I have good friends who are always fun to be with. Just the same, I look back with a sense of wistfulness for a time like that again.
As you get older, your expectations change. Even though there will be better and stronger loves in your life, there will never be a second “first love.” There will never be another “first job out of college” or another 25th birthday. It becomes even harder to feel truly happy when the things you looked forward to about getting older don’t seem to be happening – life seems to stand still.
If you have love you don’t need to have anything else. If you don’t have it it doesn’t matter much what else you do have.” – J.M. Barrie