Having Earned the Days of Predictable Peace

I have no idea who originally took this amazing photo, but it wasn't me.

I have no idea who originally took this amazing photo, but it wasn’t me.

By now, most of you know that Saturdays are my sacrosanct writing time. I make exceptions for almost NO ONE, and get exceptionally cranky if they get interrupted or cancelled.

This week, I was blessed by my mother in law to get to do a second writing day on Thursday afternoon. I went to my usual Starbucks, sat down in my usual chair, ordered my usual drink, and managed to crank out 3,000 words in three hours. Good day!

What I learned, though, in between researching rapelling and NYC MTA subway lines is that Starbucks is a very different place on a Thursday afternoon than it is on a Saturday afternoon.

All was quiet until about 2:30, and that’s when the kids started trickling in. Middle schoolers at first, followed by raucous high schoolers. They kept coming until the place was filled to the rafters with giggling, smart phone-using children, all of whom, apparently, felt a pressing need to order Frappuccinos.

It was amazing, in a trip-to-the-petting-zoo way. You know, when you venture into the petting zoo and the goats think you have food in your pockets so they swarm you, bleating and staring at you out the side of their faces until they lose interest and start humping each other? Yeah, it was a lot like that, though, thankfully, with less humping.

Note I said ‘less’ humping. There was a little bit of humping.

I just…I don’t remember being so loud when I was a teen, though I must have been because I’m a loud adult. I have no recollection of being affronted by either my own volume level or that of my friends. I suppose other people must have been, though, because teens are, by nature, a bit much.

It reminded me of how boundless everything used to be. How you could have such a good time with your friends, that your happiness seemed limitless. How you could have a crush so all-consuming it threatened to destroy you entirely if it went unrequited. How the future was a white blank page, and that was a-ok because that’s how it was supposed to be.

To be honest? I have great affection for that time in my life, but I’m much happier living within bounds a bit. When the horizon stretches beyond where you can see, there’s a lot of pressure to do something, be something, achieve something.

When you have a career, specialized skills, a home, children to take care of, and a husband to love, life is a page crowded to the margins with to do lists, upcoming events, and exclamation points. I don’t have to worry that my all-consuming affection for my husband might go unreturned, because, well, we’ve been stuck on each other for a good long time and I don’t think either of us is inclined to change that.

Even still, I can remember the heady days of my teens with fondness. I can look at the rowdy teens with aunt-like affection, knowing full well the thrills, pains, and triumphs that await them. They don’t have my wrinkles, but they don’t have my awesome life yet, either. They won’t for some time, and that’s great.

That’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be, because if you don’t have to earn the days of predictable peace, can you ever really enjoy them?

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