The best days of my life

June 25, 2009

One of my favorite songs is Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69.” Every time it comes on the radio, cranking up the volume is a requirement.

The song celebrates what Adams calls the best days of his life, when he played in a band with some friends and fell in love with a young lass he met at the drive-in. The song brings to mind some of the memorable summer days of my own youth – days that were “footloose and fancy free,” if you will. Days before the heavy responsibilities that typically come with adulthood, husbandhood and fatherhood. Days spent goofing off with friends, flirting with pretty girls and dreaming about the future.

I’m sure I’m not alone in looking back with fondness at the days of my youth. For a lot of people, their teenage years were indeed their glory days. I think this is especially true of people who were high school athletes. They were often the center of attention then, but that attention was fleeting.

They spend a lifetime seeing the days of their youth with covetous eyes, always trying to find ways to reclaim the magic of the past – and seldom succeeding. And so they live empty lives, facing the present and the future with dread because they can never match the mystique and the fun of days long gone.

And I’ll admit – there are times when I long for simpler days such as those from when I was a teenager. Sometimes life gets hard. Sometimes it’s boring. Sometimes the responsibility gets overwhelming. Sometimes I despair over how little I’ve accomplished. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those years when my entire life was in front of me.

But one day a few months ago, at about 1:30 in the morning when I was rocking my daughter to sleep, it hit me — not something that was a brand new revelation, but more of a subtle reminder of how blessed I am.

I have a wife who gets more beautiful by the day, and who graciously puts up with all my annoying habits.

I have a 6-year-old son who thinks his dad is the greatest thing ever. He likes going to ballgames with me and lets me play with his toys and watch cartoons with him.

I have a 2-year-old daughter who has a loving, compassionate heart and who likes to wear a Wonder Pets cape and hat around the house, all the while singing the Wonder Pets theme song over and over.

I have a baby son whose laugh makes me laugh, and who is learning to look at the new world around him with wonder.

I have a church that I love, that faithfully teaches me the word of God. I have a job that maximizes my abilities and often keeps me challenged. I have friends who I enjoy being around, and who accept me for who I am.

And I have a God who continues to bless me exceedingly more than I deserve.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up living in the past or looking forward to the future, all the while missing the good things we have in the present. So it’s beneficial for me to remind myself from time to time of the beauty to be found in my life as it is – not as it was or as it will be.

Bryan Adams can have his summer of ’69. The best days of my life? I’m living them right now.