I used to believe I was ahead of the curve. A precocious child, I was always a top student in class. I was reading Madeleine L’Engle and Newsweek and Reader’s Digest at age 7. While I was shy with my peers, I enjoyed charming adults with my big vocabulary and savvy conversational skills.
I tried to grow up quickly. I was the first of my friends to have a serious boyfriend, and among the first to have my own apartment, to have a professional job. I was the first to marry, the first to buy a house, and the first to divorce. I was naive and ambitious and hard-working and innocent, rushing through the passages of life with my hair wild behind me.
“Slow down, enjoy your youth,” I would hear my elders murmur. And I would flick my eyes to the horizon. How could I go slow and savor when there was so much to attain, glittering like a heat mirage in the distance? Clearly, they had already forgotten the urgencies of their own youth, the siren song of dreams and plans and goals. And I felt misunderstood.
But the everyday sorts of tragedies that have unfolded over the past 7 years in my life have proven to derail that runaway train. I have failed those that I love, I have planned and plotted and sweat blood and despite my very best efforts, had it all turn to shit. My immaturity rank, and my foolishness laid bare. But the trials and tribulations and tremendous losses have been good for me. I live life differently now. I don’t have everything I wanted and expected would come my way. But I enjoy every day given to me as the tenuous gift that it is. Perhaps the girl who thought she was ahead of everyone else is finally coming of age. Finally growing up. It just feels so very different from how I thought it would.
I roll down the window, with the breeze whipping through my fingers as I drive.
Oh yes, life is good.
I squint my eyes into the crimson sunset from a mountain peak
Oh yes, life is good
I slurp the soup that I cooked in my tiny kitchen.
Oh yes, life is good
I spin circles on the dance floor in new boots, my skirt billowing around my legs
Oh yes, life is very, very good.