Life is sprinkled with watershed events, sometimes watershed years, when everything changes. Being an eternal optimist, I choose to remember and celebrate the years when life took a turn for the better. Bad times I banish to the rubbish heap in the back of my mind as quickly as possible.
One such "favorite" year began when I turned twenty-one in early October of my senior year at Vassar. It was a perfect day in the Hudson River Valley, crisp and bright with brilliant blue skies and glowing fall foliage. My roommate (and lifelong best friend) and her now-husband took me on a picnic on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion, high on the bluffs overlooking the river in Hyde Park. I don't remember what we ate, but I'll never forget the overwhelming sense of well-being I felt in such beautiful surroundings with such close friends. Later that spring, I graduated, got my first job, married my high school sweetheart, and bought a home. It was a year brimming with promises of good things to come. That marriage ended amicably a few years later when we both grew up but in no way dimmed the pleasure of those memories.
Another important year for me was the year I turned forty. Many women may regard forty with dread, but for me it was an age of self-discovery and actualization. Eight years earlier, I had quit my job to stay home with my daughter when she was born. During that time, OG suffered numerous career ups and downs, ranging from sadistic supervisors to employers leaving town, but he persevered in order to give me those important years with my child. By the time I turned forty, he was too beaten down to do it any more, so we switched roles. I went back to work and became the sole provider until I retired. Instead of feeling resentful, I felt empowered. My relationship with my daughter had a rock-solid foundation, and I was proud to be able to give our family financial and emotional stability after a rocky few years.
Because I am such an optimist, my favorite years don't stop there. I still hope for a few yet to come. Perhaps my daughter will marry. Perhaps I'll become a grandmother some day. Perhaps the next book I write will be The One. The future is rife with possibilities, and for that I'm grateful every day.