Two days ago, I turned 25. The weekend celebrations included finding my wedding dress, toasting a quarter of a century with an amazing group of friends over goat cheese pizza and tasty bruschetta, and laughing until my eyes teared up and I couldn’t breathe, which is something that we all need to do more often. The night ended with us squeezing too many people into a studio apartment and crashing in all sorts of uncomfortable positions, just like we did in middle school, just like we did in college, and just like we’re going to do for years to come, because after all, we are 25 years young.
The next day, after rehashing the evening’s events over steaming cups of coffee, the remaining group of friends slowly split up, some taking trains back to D.C., some to Boston, some to Philly. There’s a certain feeling that creeps into the pit of your stomach after a weekend like this one. That Sunday afternoon, I’ve-been-looking-forward-to-this-for-so-long-and-I-had-an-amazing-time-now-what? kind of feeling.
It’s the kind of feeling that makes you start planning the next adventure before this one ends. I know that in no time we will be back at it – a crew of slightly older, slightly wiser, still fun-loving twenty-something year olds, clinking glasses over how lucky we are to have one another.
To ease some of the post-birthday blues, Margo and I strolled around Union Square for an hour or so, snapping photographs and discussing where we see ourselves in the future. It was the most beautiful day, and it reminded me that New York City is hands-down the best people-watching spot around.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want for myself in the next quarter century. What do I want to accomplish by the time I am 50? What do I want to look back on and remember?
There’s this exercise I’ve heard of a few times at various psychiatric seminars and classes. One take on the exercise is to write your own obituary, but that seems a little morbid to me, and I like this version better: On your 90th birthday party, you are surrounded by a group of your nearest and dearest. They are all speaking about you – discussing what wonderful things you’ve done thus far in your life and what traits best describe you. Who are these people? What do you want them to be talking about?
The idea is that thinking about the future in this way helps shape your present decisions. Finding out what’s meaningful to you can give you purpose, and feeling purpose makes you more fulfilled and happier.
So what’s on my list?
I want to be surrounded life-long friends, some of whom remember what we were like at 25. I want to be with my loving family, which will hopefully now include children and grandchildren. I want to be seen as a kind person, and one who worked to make the world a better/happier place.
I would love to have touched others with my artwork, especially my photographs, which I hope will outlive me for many years. I want to reminisce about that one time, which will lead to reminiscing about another time, and I want to continue laughing until my eyes tear up and I can’t breathe.
On my 90th birthday, I want to remember many, many more hours enjoying beautiful weather and beautiful people like I did yesterday in Union Square.
Does anyone else have a list?
Please enjoy the rest of yesterday’s images from this vibrant city.