As I’ve put some years in my pocket, what I define as “big life moments” has changed significantly. When I was in high school, I had a very cookie cutter idea of what life happiness was supposed to mean and be. It wasn’t until I spent the summer at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago before college that I learned that the world was a much, much bigger place than I could have ever dreamed. I think I’ve written about that experience before…as the plane ride up is a life landmark that I will always remember. I just knew that my life was going to change forever. Being the oldest child of four, and being the first to leave home, was a big adjustment for my whole family. It represented the point in time that our family was no longer the same. I remember being tremendously homesick, especially when I started college at Jacksonville State University about two hours away from where I grew up. I was torn between this new life of freedom and missing out on the important things in my siblings lives. All and all, I think moving away for school really helped me to become more independent and develop into my own identity.
But back to the idea of life moments… when I was younger, I thought everyone’s path was similar: you graduated from college, you got married, you bought a house, then you had some babies. Those were the big things to look forward to. Now that I’m 33, and while some of these things are still important, they are not the only things to look forward to. The excitement of enjoying shorter experiences has become a priority – like Bonnaroo, eating good meals, participating in races, laughing with friends, birthdays, time spent with people you love…. those things seem to matter a little more. Because I think if you do these things, they can lead to the bigger concepts and ideas that we had when we were young. Or at least they can make it more rewarding when they do happen. And if they don’t, well, there is no rulebook to life. If you truly live, then your life will be a happy one no matter what your milestones are.
I saw this quote yesterday on a friend of mine’s Facebook page (thanks Meg!), which I think is relevant to this thought: