I have a reflective nature. Sometimes I’m even more reflective than usual. I think that as I get older, I have more to look back on but curiously, I find myself returning to my earlier years in that they stand out in relief. On a timeline, they draw my attention.
It has occurred to me recently that my life was front-loaded. The specific ages of 19-25 had the most significant events packed into the shortest period of time. I don’t remember thinking that as it happened but here, from a good distance, it looks that way. When I think of the events of my life from those years, I want to lay down and take a nap. As a group, it appears exhausting. Then again, maybe that is from my current perspective. At the time, what the hell did I know? It was just my life.
In part, the importance of those years is tied into a number of “firsts” which lends them a certain gravitas. That’s not the whole of it though; it wasn’t all about the emotional wallop of first-time experiences.
Certain occurrences were brought on by my own hand; others were beyond my control. I simply can’t think of another period in my life so far that had as many of both. It isn’t that nothing much happened after those years – plenty did, has – but for sheer drama and impact, those years are it. (If I can help it, I’ll never again have a set of years like those; once was enough.)
If I go ahead and include the first 19 years of my life in this equation, then the years from birth to 25 had the most intense, dramatic events. It’s no small point that the first 19 years of my life were lived with my family; my many siblings and my parents. It was a dramatic, chaotic, populated, volatile household. While I had some notion of that while I lived in it, it is increasingly with years that I see just how dramatic/chaotic/populated/volatile it was.
In some respects, I’m still working out everything that happened before I was 26. Or– maybe I’m just revisiting them, I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong – these aren’t bad thoughts. I don’t feel stuck or unable to get out from under long-ago happenings. I just think I’m appreciating it from a different angle. I never thought of my life as front-loaded before this past week and I’m rather taken with the term and the idea. I haven’t figured out everything it means yet but it gives me a fresh(er) way of looking at things.