Thursday, August 2, 2012

“The best times of your life have not yet been lived."

I got some Chinese carry out for lunch a couple weeks ago. This is what was written on the slip of paper inside my fortune cookie: "The best times of your life have not yet been lived."

Upon reading it, I stopped for a second, feeling unsure about it's meaning, and hung it up on the wall of my cubicle at the office.

I always used to be the kind of person who wanted to just fast forward until life was somehow easier or more interesting. I wanted to just grow up and get to the good stuff already... always looking forward to the next wonderful thing, the next dream come true.

Throughout the entire time I dated my now-husband, I remember just wishing I could fast forward to when we would finally be engaged, planning our wedding and our life together. I knew he was my one and only, he knew I was his, but we were so young (we started dating when I was 18, he was 17). So, we decided to wait until I was done with my bachelors degree. We finally got engaged after four years of dating, and for the next year I proceeded to wish time would fast forward to the wedding and honeymoon. And then, after our first year or so of marriage, I found myself wanting to fast forward to the time when we will have finally reached our career goals, to the time where we can buy a house, to the time when we can start a family...

I still feel that way sometimes, but lately I’ve been wishing that I could rewind. I want to go back to simpler times. I want to go back to the moment he proposed, go back to our wedding day and live it all over again. {One of my biggest regrets in life so far, is not getting video from our wedding, and not getting enough photos of our guests and family at the wedding.}

I want to spend time with my mom, back when she was healthy, and more so when she was sick. I want to watch old Judy Garland movies with her, hear her voice telling me to study hard, and the story about the night I was born. I want to revisit dinners with my grandmother, committing to memory every one of her hilarious comments, stories of our family history and how it used to be. I want to rewind to our family vacations up north when I was a kid, and spending time with my great grandparents. I want to go back to the times when I could spend the entire summer playing with friends, using nothing but our imaginations.

Then I look back on my college days. Even though they only ended a couple years ago, and I still miss living with my sister and some of our closest friends... having girl time whenever we pleased and staying up, laughing, all night. I miss acting in the school plays. I even miss the stress of writing papers and finishing assignments, and would happily trade off my bills to be a student again. Now, when I go back to school, I’ll have both to worry about.

It would appear that the glory days are over. Sometimes I wonder if the memories I make for the rest of my days on earth will be even better than, or at least just as good as, the past 25 years? Or does it all go downhill from here?

Those were my exact thoughts on the crummy day two weeks ago, when I ordered Chinese carry out and cracked open that fortune cookie.

“The best times of your life have not yet been lived.”

And even though I know it’s a stupid, mass-produced fortune cookie, it somehow managed to lift my spirits and I caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. I get to keep my good memories as long as my mind will let me, and I will make more. Some will be just at good, if not better, than the ones I've already got. After all, life is what you make of it... with optimism and positivity, happiness is bound to happen at some point.

Maybe I will get my dream job, and Justin will get his. Maybe I’ll get to have the almost-perfect little family I’ve always wanted. Maybe I really will get to travel across Europe one day. But, maybe I won't. I know I can't have it all. And maybe I'll have other experiences that will change my heart. Maybe my heart will find new dreams, big and small.

Obviously, there are some things in life you just can’t escape… the junk that comes with trading in your Sesame Street “Days of the Week” underwear for your big-girl panties. Taxes, bills, living expenses, sometimes accidents and illnesses, and, eventually, just getting old.

But I believe we have more purpose than that. More purpose than just living, working and dying on this earth. We’re here to do something, to be a part of something much larger than our feeble minds can grasp. Maybe we will realize how great things are right in the moment, maybe it'll take time before we can see the value in our past experiences, and maybe we'll never even get a chance to draw that conclusion.

I guess the point is that no matter how wonderful or terrible things are or used to be, there is always something more to come, in this life and the next. And that something will bring us that much closer to our destiny, to the real the reason that God put us here in the first place.


  1. Ok no joke, I just teared up reading this. I am totally in the same place, and always looking to "get to the good stuff". Thank you for putting everything into perspective for me :)

  2. So true. Sometimes the biggest surprises are in the smallest packages. You just have to be brave enough to crack them open:)


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