Thirty Years Later

Last night was one of those nights where the stars aligned.  I’m sure it had happened before and it will happen again. The feeling is similar to scoring an “A” on a test or project where a serious investment in time was required. It is where everything that happens culminates and the universe says yes to what you ask for. It is something you ask from your heart of hearts. That place within you where you can’t lie, not even to yourself. I got the yes to a question-and who knows what happened, but it took 30 years to get it.

So humor me and lets go back roughly 30 years.  Journey, Depeche Mode, the Cure, Franky Goes to Hollywood and Billy Idol are the bands du jour. You could go out in the evening in Phoenix, Arizona and not worry about being the next picture on the milk carton. Picture a seventeen year old girl who is so friendly and talkative that teachers refused to believe that she finished a book in one night. What they did not know was that once she left the school grounds the social creature they saw transformed into an awkwardly quiet person who couldn’t understand why the world she saw didn’t match the world that was in her head. Books were comfortable companions-most of the time.

In this particular picture this same girl is on the foot of her bed crying.  She is crying because it is Friday night and everybody she knows is having fun. This girl has never had a date to a high school dance, never went to prom, and would not go out on a date until well after she graduated high school. A book is a great companion but a horrible date.

Contrary to what this young girl felt at that moment in time, life continued. The sun rose, the sun set and the earth continued to spin. And eventually, roughly 30 years later the answers to those questions and some she didn’t ask came to her.

So now fast forward, this girl is thirty sixteen and it is Friday night. Journey and Billy Idol are there via the Jukebox. This time they brought along Eric Church and Miranda Lambert. An older version of the aforementioned girl is sitting across the table with an attractive man that thinks she is a worthwhile companion. Truth be told he liked her so much he married her. The afternoon was spent honoring the life of a beloved friend and they are waiting to celebrate the 40th birthday of another. And a flashback to that night on the foot of the bed comes to her with a simple message: take in this moment and never let it go.

And I did. And the more I embraced the moment the more answers came. I stopped eating pizza and wrote some of them in my journal. Answers I wish I could tell that seventeen year old girl.  Things like:

  • You will see numbers higher than 118 pounds on the scale and live tell the tale.
  •  You will marry a hot guitar player.
  • In spite of the fact that pizza is only available after 5 p.m. on Fridays you will thrive in a small town. 
  • The things people made fun of when you were younger will endear you to them when you are older.
  • Contrary to what your mother said, hair and makeup will still matter when you’re older.
  • Your dreams were not stupid.
  • Everyone is as equally confused about life as you are.
  • You don’t have to be mean to be successful. 
  • Your ability to love is stronger than any awkwardness.
  • The only secret to good writing is telling a truth in a way that people want to hear it.

I stopped writing after that. We were in the company of friends and it was time to laugh, talk with them and enjoy the companionship.  Real friends-not book friends. And the time, like a good meal, was rich and hearty and as delicious as I imagined life was supposed to be.

And so I close with this wish for you.  That you get beautiful answers to the questions you ask life.  Answers that will make you breath in and feel good about where you are in the world, answers that will bring you peace, and answers that will give you a smile that may begin with your lips, but linger in your heart for years to come.



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