I think back to those carefree days of youth and understand that as you get older and move through different passages of life, you never get the opportunity to relive those times again. It’s sad in one sense but there really is nothing you can do about it so looking forward is a must. The strange thing is that when you’re little, you never really understand how good you had it until you grow up. No bills, no stress, no responsibilities, just the freedom to live life. As you get older you look back and wonder if you would have changed anything. I suppose if I got another opportunity I would probably just do it all the same again because I did what came natural. I write this post about all of the little things that made me happy in the past that I don’t find the same pleasure in anymore.
I miss a brown bag for lunch. In elementary school, my mom used to make me a plain peanut butter sandwich every day because I hated jelly. Once I got sick of that I’d swap to ham and cheese, every day. After that Tuna or turkey. She’d pack me a sssips lemon iced tea, everyday. One bag of cookies and a one pack of Doritos. I think back to it and the routine of it is so amazing that I just love my mom for doing this for me for all those years. She would even include 6 packs of smarties that I would distribute to each one of my friends. This became a staple of lunchtime and I was the decider of who would receive a Smartie. It’s actually a bit dictator like now that I look back at it but I’ll never forget doing it.
I miss not paying attention. Classes were such a joke growing up that the ability to do nothing throughout school and still receive high marks with little effort is so incredible that I wish I could relive that. Dave Krieg and I used to sit in Honers History (what a joke) and literally draw full page mazes with tiny, tiny lines. These would literally take hours to do and nearly impossible to finish. I remember doing a video with Lubowitz that was for an English class that we shot of him speeding down the road, throwing a beer can out the window and then running over my brother with the message of not drinking and driving. The project had to do with the Joy Luck Club and this was the part we did. Where else could you get away with such nonsense (she did talk to us after class.) I remember plagiarizing a paper from Encarta and having the teacher write “see me” on the paper. I was so terrified that I never saw her and ended up passing the class before she ever said anything.
I miss standing at the bus stop. Getting Bud to believe we had an invisible dog. Picking a color of a car and then tallying them up as they drove by. Having the older kids in middle school set the 6th graders up to fight each other. I will never forget when Ed Mcgrath and I were running away from this kid Colby and what was, as my memory serves me, 50 yards away (probably more like 10) he hurls this empty can of whip cream and it hits Ed right in the head while he was running away with his back to it. Had to been one of the greatest displays of timing ever.
I miss the outfits I used to wear. I used to wear plaid shorts day after day because I thought they owned. I had this one shirt with all black and hot pink lines that was my favorite. I didn’t start wearing jeans till 7th grade. Didn’t start wearing collared shirts till 10th. My fashion has come a long way.
I miss the games we used to learn throughout our youth and just be entertained for hours by the stupidest things. I remember kickball at recess, smear the queer, football in Pishy’s backyard that was unfair because his arms were as wide as the end zone. I remember playing Magic the Gathering and Redzone and any other stupid card game that game out. Challenges at the Willow Grove Mall with Evan where we’d play the Asian clans that would gather around and take losses like samurai warriors. When we were really little, Bud and I used to play run the bases and football with his dad as the steady Q and Bud would always complain that his dad was favoring me by throwing bad passes but in reality he just had lead feet.
I used to get excited about going to Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom. The car rides there would seem like forever. Another long car ride was Rice’s Flea market on Tuesday’s so we could buy some fireworks because we were pyro maniacs. Baseball card shows at the expo center were always something that I’d look forward too. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I wish I took track a little more seriously. It was such a big part of my life throughout all of high school. I never gave it my all but who was I kidding, it was never going to get me anywhere. It was probably close to the most effort I’ve ever put towards anything in my life.
I think back to all these things that used to make me happy and wonder what it takes to find that joy in such simple things. Now I feel like I’ve turned to the dark side. Work all week and then get off on things like drinking and gambling and chasing random girls. Everything was so pure and simple in youth. A reference to the late JD Salinger and the Catcher in the Rye would be appropriate here (if you’ve never read it I suggest you do just to say that you have and thought about what’s inside it.)
It’s funny too because this is what I can recollect when I’m 26. What will I remember when I’m 36? All these things that I enjoy doing now are just so different then what I used to enjoy. It’s much harder to be happy the older you get because of all the different responsibilities and pressures. I think the hardest thing for me is that even if I could choose to be happy, I still wouldn’t know what I’d want to do. Probably move to a tropical location on a golf course, marry a hot wife and raise some kids. The real ability to be happy comes from friendships and relationships you have with other people on this planet. Sharing experiences and relying on other people is what it’s all about.
Sorry for another one of these deep personal posts but I really had a fun time writing this because it had me thinking back to all these things in my past that made me happy. It also makes me appreciate my mom and my dad so much for taking care of me growing up. I just sit here as a 26 year old and know that they aren’t going to be around forever and that sometimes I take that for granted. I should tell my mom I love her more often and tell her how much I treasure the time we can spend together. Sometimes we all just get caught up in this daily routine of life that we miss out on the important things.