I recently came upon a quote while I was perusing Pinterest and it made me stop and think. Apparently, it was made by Andy of The Office, a show I’ve never really watched. I know, I am probably one of the only humans on Earth who hasn’t. Don’t judge me. Anyway, it went something like this,
“I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
It made me a little sad to think that we sabotage so many moments of our lives by focusing on the negatives. I’m guilty. I’ve done it all my life and I still do it from time to time. At least now that I am aware of it, I can try to remind myself that one day I will laugh about today’s tragedy and look back on these times with fondness.
I suppose this is one of those lessons that one person can’t teach to another, so why should I write about it? Argh. It’s so frustrating to think that there are so many life lessons that can only be learned through experience, and even though I will try, I will never be able to pass what I have learned onto my daughter. I will tell them to her and she will roll her eyes and she will never truly understand until she has lived it. Just like you might be reading this now and thinking “Sure, sure. My roommate sucks, my parents just don’t understand, I just failed an exam, I hate my job, these kids are driving me crazy, etc, etc” Whatever you are going through right now might have you reeling or feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But there is, and when you get to the end you will turn around and look back and see where you’ve been.
I remember my college days when I was working and busting my butt to pay the bills. I had bosses and roommates who occasionally drove me crazy and the stress of trying to meet deadlines, complete my student teaching, staying up into the wee hours of the morning to finish lesson plans and papers. I put on the next day’s outfit before bed (usually sweats) so that I could sleep in as long as possible before my morning commute. It was HARD, but those were the good old days.
I think back to when my ex-husband first left and I laid on the couch for days while my brother fixed me things to eat and I couldn’t get through a day of work without crying. Yes, I broke into a million pieces and it seemed like I would never feel “normal” again, but something in me died during that time and a new someone emerged, someone stronger than I ever imagined I could be. And I actually miss those times now. I get all nostalgic thinking about how I was forced to surrender everything I thought I knew and how close I felt to God in those moments. Those were the good old days.
I think about the house that Michael and I lived in when we first got married. It was small and didn’t have enough storage space and my kitchen window overlooked the neighbor’s yard, which was littered with a rusty old car and crappy lawn furniture that was haphazardly placed with no rhyme or reason, not to mention the hairy, sometimes shirtless man who lived there. My patio there was half the size of the one I have now, but you know what? I miss it. It was our first house together, it was in that bathroom that I fell to my knees and thanked God when I discovered I was pregnant with Evelyn. Those were the good old days.
Thinking back about the sleepless nights when Evelyn was a newborn sometimes makes me unsure if I want to have any more children, but I can easily fall into a trip down memory lane, remembering how I escaped to the bathroom when she was crying, only to return and see my hubby in his robe, rocking her and singing “Sweet Baby James” to get her to calm down and sleep. I was exhausted, I was scared, I was in over my head, but those were the good old days.
Isn’t it weird how our minds tend to focus on the negatives in the moment, but when we look back, we tend to remember the positive things? I guess the point I am trying to make here is that whatever you are doing right now, wherever you are, whoever you are with, stop for a moment and take it all in.
Breathe the air,
listen to the sounds,
look at the faces of the people around you.
Remember this, because these ARE the good old days.