The shining dreams of youth

March 19, 2010

Your time has come to shine All your dreams are on their way See how they shine
~Bridge Over Troubled Water

I was driving over the Santa Cruz Mountains the other day on my way to my haircut (who drives 30 miles for a haircut? Don’t answer that). It was a beautiful, sunny day and Simon and Garfunkel’s classic song came on.

That part of the lyric stood out. Your time has come to shine. We all have “our time,” don’t we?

As I drove over the hill it struck me that, having passed over the summit of my life, I can look back and down at my life, which by now has been mostly lived. A fun life. Many of the dreams I had as a young woman have come true, whether I understood them at the time or not. Or whether I knew they were coming or not.

It was the first time I’ve really considered my stage of life. I’ve always been too busy living it. (Although as I approach a big birthday in another year, I’m beginning to notice the first disturbing small signs on my neck.)

So it’s all the more poignant for me to talk every few days with my former student at spring training and signed by the Giants, who tells me that he feels like he is living in a dream.

With every conversation, I smile. Because he’s at such a great place in his young life.

Who in our age group wouldn’t smile to think about what was like to be 21 years old and on the cusp of life. And imagine what it must be like for him to see his Giants jersey complete with his name and number hanging in his locker.

To have all those shining dreams on their way.

As I watch him set out on his course I know those feelings of disbelief, excitement and joy. It was wonderful to be young and to step out into the adventure of life, the road uncharted. Anything could happen.

It called to mind that former friend of mine, the flatliner, who eschewed peaks and valleys, and I feel sorry for her.

The best parts of life are the peaks, and you can’t recognize them without the contrast of the valleys.

So this year, spring training began without my friend receiving a call. I’m sure that was one of the first real low points of his young life. But then, weeks later, a call. How that must have felt! and then: a contract.

I firmly believe with all my heart that he will go all the way to the big team. But if nothing else this big happens in his life, I am sure he’ll look back on this time of his life as a peak experience.

Even though I’m a distant spectator, I love being along for his ride and remembering my own peak experiences.

And I’m grateful that as a college educator, I’ve had a window into the lives of young people just starting out.

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