You know that country song that makes you want to curl up and sob like a small child every time you hear it? Doesn’t narrow it down, huh? I’m talking about the one by Trace Adkins that talks about the good days – the right now days – the days that we often waste wishing for better, for more, for the future. It’s the girl sitting outside her high school classroom, praying for her 18th birthday. It’s the young couple in a one bedroom apartment, wishing for a house and babies. It’s the young mom juggling a baby and a toddler, struggling with their tears and not in that moment thinking that she’ll miss this phase. And yet, she will. That song never used to strike any cord for me at all – I was probably too young to appreciate the message, and moving too quickly to hear the words. Growing up with a country lovin’ mama, I always avoided the emotional sappy songs like the plague. I jokingly called them the “my dog died and so did my truck” genre. Now, at 26, I apparently have emotionally matured and by that I mean, can fully appreciate (cry over) some of those songs.
Yesterday I was racing home from work – I’d gotten held up with paperwork and had stretched myself a little too thin. I had plans, dogs to feed, a house to clean, laundry to start, and a to do list that was nagging me.
I almost exclusively listen to rap music – something that doesn’t quite fit with my overall being and yet, I literally cannot get enough of it. That’s a story for another time, I’m sure. That being said, it was bizarre when this familiar tune came up on my Pandora “liked” playlist. As I passed a particularly slow moving Honda and thought something along the lines of “how nice for you to have all this free time this afternoon to drive like you cannot find the gas pedal” I heard the opening chorus.
“You’re gonna miss this…”
Shit. I wasn’t feeling like I had time for a good cry and frankly, having grown up as a non-crier the new found emotional side of me often takes me by surprise. I shouldn’t say that I am now a crier per se, I just somehow now get happy tears, sad tears….Okay, that sounded like bullshit even to me. I’m a crier now. As Trace starts taking me on an emotional journey via his melodious voice, I surprise myself by not flipping it back to “Bad and Boujie.” In fact, I surprise myself by listening to the whole thing – belting it out, even – and taking full appreciation for the first time maybe ever, in those lyrics.
Before she knows it she’s a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her It’s a nice place
She says It’ll do for now
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says Baby, just slow down
You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These Are Some Good Times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this
Before I’d even reached my exit, I had a tear or two. Trace’s words weren’t profound, and this wasn’t the first time or even the 10000th time I’d heard sentiments like this and yet…it struck me. I have always been in a hurry, in some way. I’ve always been charging full force ahead to improve, have better, have more, do better, do more…and while some people find that sort of drive endearing, it doesn’t often lend itself to slowing down and looking around. I don’t love that about myself. While I’ve always be a firm believer in gratitude and embracing each moment as it comes, I am as guilty as the next person of desperately willing certain advances to come.
I flashed back on a phone call I had with my Dad once, after a particularly deflating day at work. I’d just gotten a promotion and already wanted more. I was frustrated and spinning my wheels, feeling like my peers were passing me by professionally. I told him him how badly I wanted to write, how badly I wanted to move up in the ladder, the office food chain, etc. I bemoaned my young professional woes to him, this top level CEO, and he let me. He let me carry on for a good fifteen minutes then he dropped the P bomb on me. P for profound. He told me that I’d miss these days. He told me to slow down, to look around, to appreciate how hard I’d worked to get where I was. To honor that. To be honest with myself in that reflection. He told me to stop letting my headstrong drive drag me right past these days. Because, I’d miss them. He assured me that I’d blink and find myself writing, surrounded by kids in a house with a husband and dogs and God willing – living a life I absolutely loved, fully. Of this, I have no doubt. He promised me that even on those days, I’d look back and smile fondly on every trial, tribulation, missed opportunity, opened door, plot twist, pit stop..because they too, were really good days. Life, he warned, has a way of moving faster and faster as we age. Don’t miss this he said. I wish everyone had access to my Dad’s pep talks – whether they’re career based, relationship based, lifestyle based, each one within itself deserves to be a TED TALK. Talk about profound. He has an innate ability to communicate – he’s eloquent, funny, and wise.
As the song ended, I reached for my Bluetooth to cancel my plans for the night. I wanted to order way, way too much sushi with my husband and scarf it straight from those Styrofoam containers, balancing wasabai and ginger cups on our laps and spilling rice mounds for the dogs. I wanted my main priority for the night to laugh with him on our porch, watch the sunset and marvel in the life we’ve built. That, I decided, was all I had to accomplish for the night. Vacuuming could wait. Emails could wait. What couldn’t wait was the gratitude for this awesome, wonderful, wild, exciting, new phase of life that we’ve entered.. I am so, so in love with this phase. I’m newlywed, I’m healthy, I’m strong, we love our home, our neighborhood, our days and nights are busy and full – but nowhere near as full as our hearts. I don’t want to look back and think that I didn’t slow down and appreciate these days, because dammit these are the best days. And no doubt, I’m gonna miss them.