I feel like I’m always writing about time. Whenever I’m inspired, compelled to scribble something in my notebook, it’s about time and change and all the inevitable seconds and years and decades that pass while I continue to just live my life. I jot down notes when a song in a bar reminds me of freshman year or a piece of clothing on a stranger evokes images of a happy summer day. I have a reminiscing obsession. Nostalgia may be my worst character flaw. Lists and lists of memories crowd my drawers, leaving less and less room for new, meaningful clutter.
But I have places to be and things to do, and my reflecting on the past proves oftentimes pointless.
Does it really matter that I shared an excellent bowl of noodles with a friend right on this corner in early 2010? Would anyone care about the time I drank here or danced here or pet a cute dog here or lost my ID here?
In obvious procrastination attempts, I spent last night flipping through Facebook pictures of my high school graduation. I often forget that I graduated high school, let alone that my brother has graduated high school, and now there’s a whole extra generation of high school graduates. They were freshman when we were seniors. They were in fifth grade when we were in eighth grade. We were in kindergarten when they were born. These babies are too young to be wearing caps and gowns!
I’m quite perplexed as to how this happened.
The breeze down the street smells like pizza, falafel, banh mi, pho, freshly pierced noses and cat inhabited guitar cases. I’m late to my editor’s meeting; I’m behind on my deadlines; and chances are I’ll never pack for my month-long trip to Paris. I forgot my Metrocard in my favorite True Religion skinny jeans that I bought with my first paycheck last spring.
These minute details add up, and suddenly I’m an adult.
And I’m happy.
At 18, I couldn’t have predicted the details, well, the meaningful details: who I would befriend, who I would fall in love with, what I would read, where I would live, where I would work. But I knew what I wanted. I wanted to live in New York City. I wanted to write. I wanted to be published. I wanted to highlight my hair and get more piercings. I wanted friends who I could call at any hour and a good Chinese restaurant that would deliver into the dark of night. I wanted the life I’m living.
It’s a weird feeling, to realize that you’re living your dream. That you wanted something and you made it happen. That the outrageous check you just wrote to pay rent for your closet-sized apartment in the East Village was worth it. That the hours you don’t sleep because you’re up working mean something. That you met people who matter.
Of course, I don’t have everything I ever wanted and I’m slowly accepting that I never will. (I’m still waiting to star in the Broadway musical based on my life). I can begrudge time passing so quickly, spend my days flipping through iPhoto and Facebook albums to remember the good old times, or actually be 21, and live a life I’ve wanted for so long, and actually have!