Dixie Chicks have a song called Favorite Year on their Taking the Long Way album. It's a song about nostalgia, and peace, and regrets, and it has been one of my favorites since the first time I heard it, though for different reasons over the years.
I realize now that I have spent the better part of my life either looking forward or looking back, sometimes nostalgic for times past or relationships lost, and at other times eager to reach some milestone so that the next, better phase of my life could begin. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't keeping me from living and enjoying my life. But no matter where I was, or how happy I was, it seemed somewhere in the back of my heart I was always wanting to be someone* else.
This has been my pattern for so long that I can't really say when it began, and it's so ingrained that I only notice it in when it stops. But something has definitely changed. I don't know what, exactly. I'm older than I ever thought I would be, and I can already feel time nibbling away in my walls and dark spaces. I'm temporarily employed in a vulnerable stage of a new career, in the midst of an economic crisis. I'm sure I drink too much, and I don't often sleep through the night without waking up thinking about something. I have a to-do list a mile long, and a to-read list that's even worse. I have too many hobbies and keep adding more. I'm overweight, out of shape, and quite possibly out of my mind.
For some reason, none of that seems to matter. I seem to like my colleagues and my work, and my wife makes me laugh most every day. I commute three miles down the prettiest stretch of road in town twice a day, and there is a neighborhood grocery store on the way home. I have a few friends whom I rarely see, but am always glad when I do. I write, which is something I always said I would do. Sometimes I take naps.
I guess somewhere along the way I learned to accept myself and the life I am living, which makes it much easier to enjoy my days. So, for the first time in a long time, I find myself looking neither forward nor back (nor longingly at someone else's life). I can honestly say that this is my favorite year.
* Someone, somewhen, somewhere. It's all the same in the end.