i miss being 19 not because i miss being 19 but because i miss being in love with the people i was in love with at 19. all four of the people i was in love with at 19 i’m still in love with but differently because 23 years of loving people pushes love into different forms. i live with two of them. my girl best friend will forever be my best friend wherever in the world she resides. the other became my wife and then the mother of our children and then my ex-wife and someone i haven’t seen in more than four years. i don’t miss being 19, i miss loving the way i loved at 19. at 19 i didn’t have any limits on love and my only expectation for love was that love would last forever. i’m not sure what limits i’ve lumped on love in the intervening 23 years but the load is heavy now. i hold things back. i hold feelings in. i make lists of fears i don’t have names for.
i miss being 27 for the woman i was becoming. at 27 i was growing into the person i had always wanted to be but wasn’t sure i could pull off. i was young, brilliant, and beautiful…and almost knew it, almost believed it. i had no idea how powerful i was or how powerful i would become once i responsibly applied brilliance and beauty but i was on my way to finding out. at 27 i learned how to surf. the ocean taught me strength. the moon taught me grace. the man who taught me how to surf taught me rules about loving by breaking them. we broke each other down for a few years. after a few more breaking down years we broke apart. a few years later we found ourselves healing together again because our love is ocean strong and moon graceful and we could forgive each other because by then we had hurt and been hurt with others more than we had hurt and been hurt with each other.
i miss being 30 because it was the best year of my life. 30 was the best year with my ex-wife. i lie to myself each year and say that every year is getting better but the year my ex-wife and i turned 30 was the best and happiest and easiest year.
i miss being 37 because even though my life’s direction was heading toward doom, 37 was the last year we pretended to hold ourselves together, believing in our faith that everything would work out okay and we’d always be together.
i miss being 40 and intentionally celibate and keeping my life simple and starting to come alive again.
at 42 i’m mindfully appreciating the good stuff, making the good better, loving and loving and loving wider, dropping (at least some of) the limits i’ve placed around love, growing younger, goofing-off wiser, listening deeper, and asking for more while expecting less. i’m striving to prevent missing this year 20 years later.
20 years from now i hope i have answers to questions i haven’t yet asked.
20 years after that i hope i gently breathe into the next adventure.
today i’m falling more in love.