A college friend of mine and his wife just had a baby last week and posted a couple of pictures on Facebook. The comments people leave are always encouraging and one person said “welcome to the best years of your life”. First of all to everyone that doesn’t have kids this comment is kind of like a “Suckers!!!!! Your life could be SO much better!” Secondly the phrase “best years of you life” just gets me.
Why must we take life stages and deem them the best/most important years of our lives? I’ve heard it for a bunch of different ones: college, the single life, marriage, children, and empty nesters. While I think we can all agree that the worst years of your life are during puberty and middle school (Why God, why?!?!?!), why do you want to split up your life into stages and say “that’s the best one right there”. It causes people to regret stages that have already passed. College was supposed to be the “best years”? Well crap, I guess the rest of my life will be worse than when I was 18 to 22. Nothing more to look forward to. It also causes people to rush into things that maybe they aren’t fully prepared for. Having children will be the “best years” of my life? Well I better start popping them out. Yeah, I’m sure having a baby in Texas while our families are miles away would really just be “the best”. Parents of teens might be looking forward to finally being empty nesters. They spend so much time looking forward to their teen leaving that they end up missing their kid growing up.
Can’t we just appreciate where we are at the moment in life? I don’t want to regret life stages that have passed or wish away the present so I can get to the future. I want to look at each part of my life and say “that was the best years of my life for this reason”.
- High school was the best time of my life because I realized I didn’t really care what other people thought of me and forged some life-long friendships.
- Freshman year was the best year of my life because I learned how to truly be independent.
- Sophomore and junior years were the best years of my life because I learned about pride and realized what I didn’t want in life.
- Senior year was the best year of my life because Taylor and I started dating.
- Grad school was the best time of my life because I was learning about a topic I loved and married my best friend.
Taylor and I don’t like living here in Texas and we spent the first year of it moping around (Charlie Brown-style). Then one day we asked ourselves “What is the point in doing that?”. Maybe we should actually try to enjoy it instead of looking up years later and wondering what the hell we did that whole time in Texas. Years from now we’ll turn to each other and say “Hey remember that time we lived it Texas?” I don’t want to say “Oh man that was the worst”. I want to say that it was the best time of our lives because we realized there was no better way to find out that we truly loved each other than to move halfway across the country from everyone we knew.