We've all heard it. Most likely from a distant relative or an acquaintance of a parent. The very all-encompassing, overpowering phrase of "This is the best time of your life."
My only response to that statement is: "Wow. That's a little rude of you, don't ya think?"
In my (not so) professional opinion, I feel personally offended by these offhand comments. Who are you (unequivocally outspoken stranger) to decide when the best times of my life will be? Are you implying that I am currently peaking at the ripe age of 20? Because if so, this is very awkward. Yes, college has proven to be wonderful. But it has also proven to be extremely challenging, constantly testing my determination and my passion for my chosen career.
Every day is different. Times are hard and life isn't always perfectly scripted and well sequenced out like a Disney movie. So, here's my question:
Why should today be any better than the days to come?
Why are our best days simply confined to our time at university? Why will all our good days be hastily wrapped up the moment we receive our diploma, shipped off never to be seen again?
Yes, these four (plus or minus a victory lap) years do hold many amazing experiences, but I think this time is overly-romanticized. Our time at university is a time of transition. It's exciting, foreign and fast-paced. It's no wonder that many recall on their college days with great fondness. This is a time of increased maturity (for the most part) and much more freedom than we were granted back in high school. College is definitely different from all we had known, but that does not make it the best.
You see, I think every year we get to experience in this crazy life has the potential to be the best. So many people think that there is nothing left to look forward to after your twenties. They truly believe that after that crazy 21st birthday, everyone is suddenly sentenced to mundanity. But to me, every birthday can be a milestone. Whether you're turning 21 like myself or 55 like my mother, every year that stretches out behind us is yet another year that we have the opportunity to cherish.
Growing old can be a frightening notion. Some see it as all the time that has flashed by and how little of life they have left to live. They remark on their weathered skin and shaking hands and miss only what they used to have. But I see it differently.
When I see older ladies and gentlemen coming in and out of my place of work, I can't help but smile. I see they ways their eyes light up when recounting a story, blissfully lost within themselves. I notice how comfortable they have become with themselves and the ones they love. I behold genuine people who have countless stories to share and years of experience to pass on to the younger generation.
I am currently living in the best time of my life (or so I'm told), but so are they. With every breath we take, every obstacle we overcome and every birthday we are blessed to celebrate, we are in fact living our best life.
The only person who gets to decide when you get to lead your best life is you. So go on, celebrate that 55th birthday with the same vigor as you did when you were 21. After all, right now, in this very moment, you are in fact living the best life that only you can.