50 Thoughts: Where Would You Go with a Wayback Machine?

Originally published August 28, 2018

I suppose it’s normal to do some reflecting when you are staring down your 50th birthday.

Things you’ve done, places you’ve been, ages you’ve lived. That kind of thing.

Interestingly, I haven’t thought too much about it, at least specifically. Scenes from the past float in and out of my brain on a daily basis, mostly by happenstance. Take yesterday, for example. It was my daughter’s birthday and I posted a picture from when she was a baby, which triggered thoughts about our backyard in Michigan, and the friends that were likely there with me when I snapped the photo.

Or a couple of weeks ago, unpacking and setting up my oldest’s dorm room. It was impossible not to be transported back to Armstrong Hall at MSU, if just for a few moments.

I know you can’t go back again, nor do I want to, but if a genie granted me a wish to visit a few moments from my past, I’d probably:

Go back to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. For sure. I am a sucker for nature and those two places delivered in spades.

Spend a day with each of my kids when they were nine months old. Such a sweet spot. Not quite walking, definitely happy-faced, easy to please and so snuggly.

Re-live a few of my earlier dates with my husband. Unencumbered by the stresses of family and financial responsibility, just learning more about each other, no expectations. If I were to pick a date since we were wed, it’d either be our first married trip to Cape Cod or our anniversary visit to NoLa.

Eat Sunday brunch with my college friends at Brody. Hangover food is the best food.

Go back to high school soccer practice and actually run the whole practice route instead of cutting corners. (The guilt consumes.)

Eat more vegetables. They are so good! All the broccoli I’ve missed out on!

Play Dungeons and Dragons during one more middle school lunch with my friends.

Visit the Museum of Science and Industry as my younger self with my brother, circa 1982. First of all, retro. Also, we got lost coming back into the Loop and our dad’s office while taking the bus. I’d like to take another stab at that.

As it’s been pointed out, age and perspective equal wisdom, and when looking back, I only wish I’d been more present in some of the more mundane moments, because there’s so much to be grateful for each and every day. And there’s the lesson in moving forward. Or, as Ferris would say …

Today’s recommendation: A Little Life because, my God, if I had the time to devote to this 8-lb book, I’d read it again and every day after that. It’s that good. And it’s about college friends into their older ages. Tragic and so beautiful all at once.

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