Even though technically I’m writing this before the supposed end of the world on Dec. 21, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that we didn’t all meet our fiery doom simply because the Mayans got lazy with their math homework. And if I’m wrong, well, pffft…what are you going to do about it? Judge me? Shove it in my face? You’re freaking dead.
But even though this prophecy is complete bunk (unless, again, I’m wrong, in which case, who cares because I doubt there is an Internet comment section in the afterlife…unless you end up in Hell where you are forced to read “c0mn3ntz buY peepz wh00 truely h8 da Englesh langwuid” all day), it does have the interesting effect of making one reflect back on their life. This is also amplified by the fact that we are staring straight into a bright, shiny new year, which always casts a magical spell on us and makes us promise to do things we actually never, ever intend to do.
So, with this in mind, I’ve been wondering how my life has stacked up so far.
Childhood? Happy. Or, at least as happy as any childhood can be in a world where wearing floral leggings in fourth grade will get you the nickname “Petunia Butt.” And, sure, I still had to deal with bullies and insecurities and childhood fears (I’m still convinced those troll dolls from the ’80s come alive at night) and boo-boos and disappointments (ahem…Kent Blackford likes me but doesn’t “like” me like me) and that horrible process of trying to figure out your place in the world. But at the end of the day, I always knew I was loved.
Adolescence? Ugh. Let’s just say it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Or better yet, if we take out the years 13 through 15 (and any and all photos taken during that period), it was actually pretty damn good. Although there was some pretty awful poetry produced in the remaining years.
College? Two degrees. No STDs. Sixty percent of memories still retained. So, overall, successful.
Career? Currently not where I want to be. I mean, I never really achieved my 7-year-old self’s dream of being a model-doctor-marine biologist-author-female Indiana Jones. But I did become a writer and a journalist, my 15-year-old self’s dream. I’ve seen my byline in multiple newspapers, including the Boston Globe, won some awards and was once told by an 87-year-old woman that I was funnier than Carol Burnett, which, let’s be honest, is by far the best compliment one can receive. I even achieved my goal of becoming a paid photographer, my 25-year-old self’s dream. Sure, I still haven’t written that book that is destined to make me rich (or at least get me out of the Ramen Noodle bracket of the middle class) or become syndicated yet, but the fact that I often write currently for publications for free proves that I really am doing what I love.
Love life and other grown-up relationships? My husband tells me I’m beautiful when I just woke up and resemble Wednesday Addams (both in looks and attitude), my family supports me to an embarrassing degree, my in-laws are straight out of some magical Hallmark Christmas movie and my friends, both life-long and recent and everything in-between, are the new, improved Algonquin Round Table.
Hmm…somehow I thought this post would be more cynical. But as it turns out, when you reflect on your life, somehow the good always outshines the bad. Which leads us to the most important question of all:
What would I do if I knew in advance it was my very last day on Earth and that I would shortly be forced to read the worst, most ignorant comments the Internet has to offer for the rest of eternity?
Or more specifically, the same thing I can be found doing on any average Saturday. Cooking breakfast with my husband, yelling at the dog, talking to my mom and cousin on the phone, heading into the city and stopping for a beer at some dive bar and at the end of the day, writing it all down.
Because, as it turns out, it’s in the every day that the magic of life lives.