I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days… before you’ve actually left them – Andy Bernard.
Five am start and four hours of driving. Six hours of wanderlust and a midnight end. We were together- a rarity now.
Without a wink of sleep and very little coffee in our systems, those that managed to clear their busy schedules pilled together into three different cars to a destination we barely knew or even heard of. I remember sitting in that car so early in the morning thinking ‘everyone else right now is probably asleep and maybe will wake to another wasteful day, and here we are- foolishly on route to something remarkable’. It was an excuse to be together, to put our predictable lives temporarily on hold and to some honest degree create a couple of last happy memories before responsibility would inevitably catch up to each of us.
We fought morning grumpiness at each other, brushed our teeth with service station jerky, sang to terrible ‘90s music, played silly little car games that have now become a mandatory custom and as simple as it was, we just laughed in each other’s company. I am that person that carries a pen everywhere they go, whether it is used to scribble a picture on a napkin or write a page of nothingness- I am that person. I find it comforting to reflect on what I’ve written, to somewhat relive the moment when the pen hit the canvas, in doing that I am fortunate to have a treasure chest of documented memories. Too often when I revisit things I’ve written, anytime there is mention of my friends the words ‘we did nothing but laugh with each other’ always seem to unintentionally appear. Doing nothing with people and being able to enjoy it is one of the little things that over time has proved to be a large importance- there’s something so sweet and so simple about nothingness, that only a few will understand. We did nothing but laugh and enjoy.
Never was there a time where just one story had the floor; conversations always seemed to leap over another and arguments continually broke out, and-to the frustration of many – countless stories would be incomplete and the direction of talk completely altered. It was simple back then; whether it was hanging out in the usual spot or going on these ridiculously impromptu road trips we managed to create moments worth writing about. I take solace in knowing some people only ever get a handful of moments; and that I am lucky to have collected more than just a few.
Like tradition, no matter what road we were on- whether it was a highway or dirt strip- as soon as someone saw any early light appear in the horizon, phones would be called and one by one our cars would slowly pull over for us all to get out and watch the morning wake up together. I probably won’t ever remember the phone calls or admin work I did at odd jobs here and there or even the assignments I worked on for my course but little memories like sharing a sunrise with someone I will always hold dear.
After finishing a breakfast that only country towns can offer we spent hours hiking a mountain decorating our delicate city bodies with bruises to eventually reach a mountain top that we would soon claim as our own. We threw paper planes off the edges, hit a well earned round of golf balls off the mountainsides, toasted our achievements with half empty bottles of water and again just laughed with one-another. Some slept, others ran wild. Some took photos while others caught their breath.
We hiked so high we were literally in the clouds. But like a good dream, we of course had to wake up and pretend to face the world again. We often get so lost in our own little world that we unintentionally allow it to out grow our everything- problems begin to enlarge, moments are overlooked, friendships grow apart and adventures start to only be found in photos. As we age into the roles that society has moulded for us we begin to lose our understanding of youth and for some odd reason ridicule it by the circumstances we decided to pursue. It takes someone with their head screwed on to fully comprehend the notion that no one is ever getting any younger and that time we enjoy wasting is never time wasted.
We all have the time to grow up but not enough to stay young. I’ve grown to harshly understand that I will always have to pay some bill but I won’t always be able to hit a round of golf balls on the side of a mountain with my friends. Yet as I read through my old journals and past scribbles it’s taught clear that adventures hold a significant gravitas to the legacy I will leave, but it’s the little tender moments of doing nothing but enjoying company in between that make those adventures and stories worthwhile.
All you really need to know about when you’re in the good old days is found in people, in the ones you enjoy wasting time with. Those will be the good days you remember.