When I was in my early 20s and facing the very real specter of an impending divorce, I said to someone, “I’m 22, and I feel like my life is over.”
He shook his head and said, “I’m 32, and I feel like my life is just beginning.”
That stuck with me for years, obviously, and I took it to heart during many trying times. But it still struck me that the last ten years of my life have been among the best I have ever lived. I understand now what this acquaintance meant when he said his life was just beginning, because at 43, I am happier than I have ever been.
It isn’t just being married to a wonderful man who understands me, loves and accepts me (even when I’m a pain in the ass). It isn’t just having two wonderful daughters who fill my heart with such joy, happiness and pride. Nor is it this amazing home (120 years of history!) and area that I live in.
These are all huge, and they have conspired to make me a happier person, more grounded, loving, and accepting of life with all of its quirks and unexpected turns.
But recently I have stumbled upon what I can only describe as the secret to happiness in life.
The living of it. And the people I have met who make it so worthwhile.
Last night we were up until 2:30 in the morning. 2:30…a.m. Me. The person who is asleep by 9:30 most nights and up at 5am in the morning. I had so much fun, drank a bit more than I usually do, and laughed and talked for hours with a couple we had met recently at a neighborhood association meeting.
As we sat out on our wraparound porch and the rain poured down, I realized how amazingly lucky I am. How blessed my life is. I don’t use that word lightly – as an agnostic with atheist leanings – that word doesn’t come out of my mouth very often. It is the friendships that we make, the lives that intersect with ours, that makes each day new and more special.
We spent eight hours laughing and sharing stories of our lives with Andy and Blake.
I think of other new, or recently new friends.
Bethany, who approached me a year or more ago and said, “My daughter has informed me that she is best friends with your daughter and so we need to arrange a playdate.” She, and her husband Lee, are funny, and intelligent, and humorous and creative. I anxiously await the birth of their baby daughter this week.
Kristin, and her husband Tom, who we met at a garage sale, saw their book collection and simply HAD to be friends with. Funny and intelligent, kind and sharing.
Or Jim and Sherry, the couple who rehabbed this amazing house and sold it to us – innovative, creative, thoughtful and generous individuals.
Our friends Victoria and John, and their two wonderful kids, Zach and Aliyah, down-to-earth, green-living, earth-conscious, homeschoolers and kind, good people.
Melissa and Dave, kind and fun people, homebrewers, kid-oriented, wonderful human beings.
And so many others.
These connections, these intersections where our lives cross and we share moments, hours, days and more together. That is what makes everything else possible in our lives. The happiness, the connectedness, the opportunities.
I guess what I’m saying is that, I’m really, really looking forward to the next forty years of my life. I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.