Today I am hopping on the Momalom bandwagon and participating in Five for Ten where a group of bloggers write about similar subjects for 10 days.  I am a little late to the game and I hope they will forigve me but the quality of the bloggers who are writing is just too high not to want to be a part of it.  Today’s topic is happiness.  Read on — and then read what others are saying over at Momalom

This weekend Dave and I will join hundreds of our former classmates to celebrate our 20th Reunion at Penn. The brochure to entice the Class of 1990 to return to that happy place nestled in scenic West Philly was chock full of photos from that time long, long ago  - including this one:


That’s me on the right – 20 poundsyears younger — as the juniors became seniors during the traditional Hey Day festivities. The entire class donned straw hats, carried canes, and consumed enough alcohol to make Lindsay Lohan proud. My roommate Lisa and I were getting a lift from Kuz and Rob.  I’m not sure how long they held us up there, but Rob has always complained of a bad back since that time.  I’m thankful for this photo because the day was a complete blur.  And as the years pass, so is that time I spent in college two decades ago.

But I remember I was happy. Wasn’t I?

My knee jerk response is “YES!”  It was perhaps the best time of my life.  The picture seems to concur.  And so too does my memory, which plays back these snapshots and video loops of the best of times whenever I might choose to call one up.  We all have our own mental jukeboxes with which we stock with our most meaningful images and recollections.  I tend to play the happy memories like Hey Day more often than not.

But when I take the time to think back in detail, I realize that I was not always happy in college. I was constantly under pressure trying to keep up at Wharton and compete for the gymnastics team. I had a few nemeses, perpetual boy problems, and had my heart broken more than once. And regrets? I had a few.  (But then again, too few to… never mind)  Seriously,  if I did an in-depth analysis of my “happy” times versus my “unhappy” times at Penn, I might just break even.

Yet, when I think about college and the years I spent there – my heart only gives me back “happy”.

Why is that?

My best guess:  It’s because it all turned out okay.  My recollection of past happiness is not unlike my recollection of any given movie.  If the ending is sad, the WHOLE movie is sad.  But if the ending is happy, it’s all HAPPPY.  I compartmentalize the sad parts and walk out of the theater with a big old grin.

So too did I leave Penn 20 years ago – with a great group of friends, a respectable degree, and enough happy memories to fill my jukebox with plenty of favorites. 

I can only hope that at the end of my life, like at the end of college, it will all turn out okay and I can look back in the same way — letting the best of times define the experience and leaving the worst of it behind — so that I can say “I was happy, wasn’t I?”

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter