My Prime: And Don’t Let Life Pass You By

The Rock and I recently joined our good friends for a casual dinner, ordered a hefty order of pub food, and settled in for some easy conversation and laughs.


I expected silly talk mostly, because a long week just passed behind us and we all seemed prepared to empty our minds of the drivel of the day, reasonably avoiding the larger, looming topics of working to the bone, and watching our children growing taller and away. But first, we sat in amicable silence for a few seconds scanning the bar and its patrons in their early 40s and 50s soaking up a little out-for-the-night neighborhood ambiance. Our eyes took it all in: Fluffy-haired women in Chargers jerseys flirting with bearded jocks, prowling divorcees nursing cold beers while shifting eyes to the right, left, and back again, and restless souls swimming joyfully in the responsibilitylessness of a Friday evening.


Despite the suburban veneer of the place and its drinkers, there buzzed a palpable vibe of days gone by and recapturing youth I’m hard put to explain, but I think we all caught a whiff of it, and processed its meaning in the deeper nethers of our brains. Here we sat, a foursome of comfortability and three-car garages, wondering if the people in front of us were having more fun.


Then the question came, way before the waitress served our burgers: “When was the prime of your life?”


My friend’s husband asked it, not out of regret or reminiscing, rather out of curiosity, but surely prompted by the scene unfolding before us in all its questions unanswered and what-could-have-beens.


I immediately set to racking my brain. I’d never been one to particularly adore my younger days, or its uncertainties and poses. I much preferred the contented conversation of today over the nervous grasping for words and awkward companionship of my 20s. There were times, sure. A young woman living in downtown Chicago; a flat bedecked in bricks and balconies; and CDs played long after midnight while blowing cigarette smoke up my hip chimney chute while contemplating future lives with my best friend.



My prime?


A life that stretched ahead.


So that’s what I said, mostly because I thought I should. I was 25, I explained. Young. Recently-broke-up thin. Over a crappy relationship and starting over. Surrounded by college friends and Cubs games and midnight jukebox songs.


Anything could happen, then. I poised myself for greatness and possibility. Yes! I exclaimed, feeling rightish in my reply. That was my prime. I wore short skirts without apology, I imagined manuscripts written, I rode city buses awash in humanity that enthralled me. Because who were they and who would I meet and where would I go.


My prime. Surely.


The rest of the group answered in similar fashion. Seems our twenty-something selves really had it made: Youth, legs, and energy. We lived the years oblivious to our excellence and forged on, to where we were now, watching, looking back.


Or so I thought, until later that night, at home and couch resting, I peered from my perch as my husband, going to bed a little earlier than I, paused three-quarters of the way up the staircase.


“You know my prime?” He asked.


I girded my soul for something regretful.




And he turned to walk all the way up those stairs.


I gawked. The Rock, usually given to reality and practicality, will always tell me if asked when I look fat in my jeans or need to stop trying so hard. But he is right, and my road, and my prime.


And wherever you go, there you are.


You silly git: Your prime is now.


This post is in answer to a PROMPTuesday.


14 Responses to “My Prime: And Don’t Let Life Pass You By”

  1. Kerstin says:

    Love it.
    So true! For a long time I longed for my college days in my early 20s. Single, skinny, fearless, living the dream in Boulder, Colorado.
    Maybe it has to do with the fact that I turned 40 just recently or that my kids are growing up and I enjoy more freedom again – but I do believe that my prime is now. Simply because I can change and influence what happens NOW – I can’t change the past. My experience helps me make choices and steer my life where I want to go. I don’t take crap from anyone anymore!

  2. I want to marry this post.

  3. Kim Pugliano says:

    Excellent well-written post. Although we are broke after failed 1st marriages and hold bad credit (well I do at least), at 41 and married for 3 years to MY rock I would have immediately spurted NOW. :)

  4. Theresa says:

    Love the ROCK and you

    He is sooooo right :)

  5. You are so right! They are always on our side through muffin tops and everything else gross that we do :)

  6. It is! He’s so right.
    We went out Saturday night and when we came back home D told me I cannot die before him because he’s seen what else is out there and it scares the crap out of him. It was the nicest thing he’s said to me in ages.

  7. heidi says:

    Gorgeous. I could just feel this, you know? I think my prime is now too.

  8. Fantastic! I have something similar scheduled for Friday. Read something recently that gave me a much needed perspective and attitude change. :) Great post!

  9. stacey ross says:

    You have a good guy, and he a great woman! :) Every age, every stage – a GIFT.

  10. nicole says:

    What a guy! And what a post! I immediately thought right now, but my experience is not necessarily normal. We got pregnant while engaged at 22 and 24 years old. I had 5 kids in my 20s. So much of that time was spent just surviving. Now I’m 32. I live with confidence. I’m aware of all the fragility, but not afraid of it. I’m excited about what is to come, instead of holding my breath.

    Thanks for writing this–made me think! Someone tweeted the link, is how I got here.

  11. Rachael says:

    I like to think I haven’t gotten there yet. This definitely isn’t it. This is a great story.

  12. Trish says:

    I love this. I’m working on remembering that every moment is the prime of my life. I’m always looking behind or ahead. Right now is pretty damn good.

  13. Me says:

    Awesome! Now lets get back on that road to Oprah!!

  14. Jennifer says:

    I absolutely love this. Feeling at a crossroads and this was a good reminder that everything is still ahead of me. And you. All all of us! Beautifully written!

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