By Betsy Ashton
I don't have a favorite year. I have favorite years. By that, I mean I have years I think about with pleasure. I wonder what it would be like to relive them.
I loved my sophomore year in high school because I got my first horse. Not a horse I rented, but one I had to feed, groom and ride. I learned all about mucking out stalls (horse poop smells good, pee not at all), picking poop out of hooves, brushing coats until they gleamed and my arms ached. Horses are hard work, but what they give back in love and teaching patience are lessons never to be forgotten. Would I like to relive that sophomore year? Not really. Yes, the horse was wonderful, but to relive that year would mean taking English with a woman who was usually so drunk she fell out of her chair. Engilish was at 10. She arrived drunk and left drunker, if that's a word. No, no reliving sophomore year.
How about undergraduate years? Oh my yes, I'd relive all of those. I had wonderful professors, even the one whose favorite word was plethora. He told the class that no one would get higher than a B because then we had taught him something. What a pompous ass! I got an A. I taught him something he didn't know. He threw down a challenge; I took it up. The class: Chinese history. I still have friends from undergraduate days at UCLA. We've grown together, but I don't think any of us want to go back to that time.
Well, maybe we should. That was a period of great political and social movements when we were young and naive enough to think our sheer numbers could change the world. Looking back, we did change the world, just not in the way we imagined. If we could recapture some of that energy, maybe we could influence events happening today.
I don't need to return to one of my favorite years. In January 1981 I met my dear husband. In a bar. In Tokyo. I relive our years together every day when I look at his smiling face, when we work together in a shared office, when we eat dinner and when we lie together at night. I don't need to go back. Going forward is enough.
So, I don't have a favorite year. Parts of every year are favorites. Each form memories that are woven into the tapestry that is me. Each year, more threads arrive. I remember them all with love and gratitude. Even the drunk in high school English.
What are your favorite memories?
Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She lives for words and writing.