|This is a pop culture joke. If you get it - congrats on being around 40 years old.|
They were eras/phases/proverbial "moments" in time where things were just sort of flowing - on their own and with very little actual involvement from me.
These terms of my life include the fourth grade, college, June-ish of 2000 through August-ish of 2003, my formal separation/divorce - slash - unemployment/re-employment and getting stuff together again (July 2012 - February 2014), and the present day (start the timer in about February of this year . . . I'll let you know when to stop it).
I say these were times of high/no "distinction" because I don't really know how fully "present" I was for any of them. Sure, sure. I got up every day (okay - there MAY have been days in college and after graduate school when I never really left my bed) and I was "there" but I don't really remember the experiences in sharp, crisp detail.
Make no mistake - these were the best and worst years of my life. They were the most informative, influential, inspired, and insipid things I've ever been through. They really, truly made me "me" and if people who know/knew me only "before" or "after" any one of these phases (say my high school friends and my current colleagues) were to be gathered in a dive bar telling stories . . . they would not have the same person at the butt of the jokes.
Sure, sure - 20 years has passed and no one stays their adolescent self (okay - SOME do) but this is not just age and life experience. This is really, truly different stuff. Musical tastes are different, outward passions say revolution (vs. evolution), patience and affection have come and gone and come again. I learned so much from those phases and the people in them - but there were very, very few people "IN" more than one of those phases with me. Maybe on the edges. Maybe I held them at bay. Maybe they walked away. Maybe I walked away from them. I don't remember it all clearly enough to really know for sure.
The worst part is that I feel like I'm back in one of these phases right now and it bums me out. I'm sorta hitting my stride. My daughter is in that phase where she is becoming her own person and setting behaviors (she f*cking UP TALKS - help me) and dreams and goals and she is finally at a place of (semi)independence on the day-to-day of life. I've got a job that I love and that challenges and rewards me (I've had any two of the three before but this one is a total keeper). I've got a wonderful woman sitting next to me - as I type this - that loves and supports and encourages and chastises (as warranted) me. I've got some religion and faith and all the trappings of it in my heart. I've got friends that I truly enjoy. I've got plans and goals and objectives that I'm ticking off.
But I don't feel "here" all the time. I don't know "where" I "am" but I'm not here. Not present. Not really dialed in to it all day every day. I get moody. I withdraw. I ignore. Or I obsess and get overly invested. I cannot find a way to enjoy and slow it down and soak it in.
It pisses me off. This is IT. This is the edge of contentment. This is the closest I come to that "happy" you all speak so highly of. This is the stuff that I chased for all those years that things were horrible. This is the stuff that I soaked in like so many perfect bubble baths and lost track of time and space in while things were good. This is what I have wanted. This is who I've wanted to be. This - here and now - is as good as it will probably ever get.
I should be here. All the time. I should be focused but, instead, it is sorta a blur.