When I was a senior in college, a girl who had recently graduated told me that she would give anything to go back to school.
“It was best time of my life,” she said. “Nothing will ever compare.”
Now, I had quite a lot of fun in college (see: hosted floor talent shows and road tripped with my friends to every football game so I could watch the cute wide receiver for examples), but even then I think I balked a little at her comment.
Maybe I’ve been thinking about it because the weather dipped back down into the seventies yesterday and reminded me that a change in season is on my horizon. Maybe it’s because all my teacher friends are decorating classrooms and meeting new students. Maybe it’s because Lily starts preschool on Monday.
In any case, my resolve remains strong: I refuse to believe that nothing will ever compare to right now.
I want the best time of my life to be where I’m at now, but, more importantly, I want to be able to say that in every season. With every new milestone.
This thought process always makes me think of the Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour,
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
I suppose I could sink to grief. Agonize over the fact that Lily is entering this new, more independent phase or wish I could freeze everything exactly as it is right now.
But, what good would that do anyone?
And, besides, when I think of every new phase—the new jobs, the new people, the new kids, the new houses, the new milestones—each one has added something beautiful to my life (even if it was hard to see at the time). Even during those hard seasons, I don’t think I could ever say, “I just wish I could go back.” (at least, I hope I didn’t.)¹
I want to be a person who balances nostalgia with realism. Who holds onto and cherishes the moments while I have them but also finds joy in the moments of letting go and moving forward. I want to embrace the beauty of new seasons rather than trying to keep my feet rooted in the past.
That’s what I want.
(So, feel free to remind me of these thoughts when Lily starts kindergarten, leaves for college, and/or gets married someday.) 😉
¹ I certainly don’t mean to downplay the tragic and/or devastating seasons of life some people face. I imagine those moments are wrought with many feelings of wanting something back that has been lost or taken away. I’m mostly talking here in terms of the natural changes and milestones we seem to continually face as a family. The mostly trivial but necessary things.