I came across this photograph a little awhile ago and was struck by how relaxed and happy G. and I looked when we first met. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.
It occurred to me to say that we were in our prime then. I headed up strategic and operational planning at a biotech start-up company in Central Massachusetts at the time. G. expanded his piano business to mostly Steinway and Mason-Hamlin grand pianos from restored antique uprights while continuing to service academic institutions in the area.
On second thought, I hesitate to make that call because I think the notion of being in one’s prime at some arbitrary point in time is shortsighted while one is still breathing. What I know now about life compared to those younger days has been hard-won. More important, what I know about myself from those halcyon days is so different that I might venture to say, it’s like night and day.
When I think back to that period of time, I remember that I was still optimistic and ambitious too. With the world what it is now, the economic vicissitudes that have occurred worldwide have set everyone scrambling, changing habits of easy expectation. Another thing that has shifted for lots of people is the loss of “the American Dream,” the idea that fairy tales do come true, people will succeed if they just work hard and children will love their parents even after they grow up and leave home.
It’s been hard. We have been fortunate because we had good work. Now, I don’t have to work as hard but the drive to learn and be productive is still there. I haven’t lost my memory although I rely less and less on memory anymore as a way of life. Thinking back doesn’t really do much good except to wonder how I managed to do all that stuff. There are many things I wouldn’t do again because I am now more clear about what I want my life to be: peaceable. Synonyms for peaceable include: harmonious, mellow, calm, tranquil, amiable and kindly.
Being able to provide what we need for ourselves is good fortune. Having a peaceable life is priceless. It’s hard to get there and we’re still working on it. But if there’s a prime time in life, perhaps it’s getting to a place where we realize we don’t need as much and that we’re lucky to be together. I wonder why it’s taken so long to get here.