Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Best is Yet to Come

Today during one of my classes, I overheard a student say something about being in the prime of her life. The group turned to me and asked if I agreed that 16 is the best part of life.

I literally laughed at her. Politely, of course.

I realize that 27 years do not make me an expert on the stages of life, but I have lived enough to figure out that 16 is most certainly not the prime of life.

When I think of high school, I think exhaustion. I feel cold mornings in the parking lot, waiting until an appropriate time to go up to campus--we had to arrive super early to get a space. I see rows of green lockers holding books I didn't want to open. I hear gossip--who's going to ask who to the dance, who got into which college, who hates their best friend this week. I feel the aches--mostly mental--of daily dance classes.

When I think of college, I think of lessons learned outside of classes. I feel the stomach-churning last heartbreak of an unsuccessful relationship. I smell Chai tea during late-night studying. I taste dorm food and unhealthy choices despite plenty of options. I think of moving every year, changing roommates every year, sharing a room with not one but two other girls. I feel the embarrassment of not knowing how to cook pasta. I feel so, so homesick, wishing I could see my parents more than a few times a year.

Of course, there was much, much good during those eight years: traveling to and performing in Japan and China, trying to convince my big brother that I'm not so bad (somewhat successfully!), really learning how to read and write, speaking at my high school graduation, meeting several of my very best friends,

(All Bruins!)

taking on two of my favorite jobs as a tour guide and orientation counselor at UCLA, joining the dance team, and of course, meeting Terry the summer before my senior year of college.

Photo at UCLA by Roxanne Neal

But I still wouldn't trade all that good for what I have now.

So, the point? Even when life is going really well, there's always so much to look forward to. I thought high school was pretty great, but looking back now it didn't even compare to college. And the real world isn't nearly as scary as everyone says--I love being married and having a job and having a pet and planning for--not just dreaming of--my real future.

What I'm looking forward to, in no particular order:
  • Rescuing a puppy
  • Buying a house
  • Having children
  • Taking another cooking class
  • Our second anniversary, because I just thought of an awesome gift idea
  • The Great Gatsby movie
  • Valentine's Day
  • The three-day weekend ahead, including a little trip to San Diego!
  • Tomorrow night's dinner, a variation of these sandwiches
And let me tell you, when I look at my parents, in the midst of their retirement, I get pretty excited about that, too. They are currently in Hawaii, updating Facebook every three hours with a new photo or check in about their jaunt in paradise. Not that I'm jealous or anything.

But let's be really honest. I get most excited about food. Here's what I ate today:

Check out the other WIAWs!

6:30 am - Breakfast - 1/2 English muffin, peanut butter, banana, and tea

10:30 am - Snack - Unripe pear :-(

 1:00 pm - Lunch - Leftover minestrone soup a la Ina Garten

5:00 pm - Snack - Homemade peanut butter granola bar after a 30-minute treadmill session

...which actually turned into this
Still delicious, but VERY crumbly. 

7:00 pm - Dinner - UCLA dorms

Terry and I had a meeting tonight with our young alumni volunteer group, and we got to eat in the dorms! How perfect for today's topic, huh? So I ate like a college student: mixed greens salad with balsamic, piece of pizza, bowl of cereal, some pasta, and an ice cream cone. That's how you do it Bruin-style. (No photos, because I didn't want people to know I'm weird.)

And now it's super late, so we're skipping the morning workout. Please don't judge.

So what do you think: Is life better now, or was it better at age 16? And what's something you're looking forward to?


  1. I LOVE this post! I really did not enjoy high school, obviously some parts were okay, but overall it wasn't an experience I would want to relive. I'm not sure my laugh to the student would have been so polite...but I also choose not to think my 20s are my prime but rather the time I set myself up for the rest of my life and the FUN that's yet to come. :)

  2. no judgment here! you have been impressing the mess out of me with your morning workouts so a day off is just fine. i loved this post - i'm not sure what the prime of my life is either (i sort of hope i ALWAYS think i'm in the prime of my life) but i can rest assured that it wasn't when i was 16. holy awkward and geez - i had no self esteem...

  3. Loved reading this. Thank you for sharing and for being so wonderful and honest! And I totally agree-life is much better now :)

  4. Loved reading this. Thank you for being so wonderful and honest! And I agree, life is much better now :)

  5. gosh that is such a tough question, I honestly don't know what I would consider the prime of my life. that is a tough one. I love your perspective on it and your experience.

  6. I actually LOVED high school, and haven't had the best time in college thus far (which I know is way different than most peoples' experiences.) However, I am so excited for everything to come still in my life so I sure hope that wasn't my prime!

  7. I actually LOVED high school and haven't had the best time thus far in college (I know, way different than most people). However, I'm super excited for everything still to come in my life, so I hope that wasn't my prime!