The best is yet to come

Tired cliché or how we should feel?

The stuff of greeting cards and Hallmark family TV viewing, the sentiment “the best is yet to come” these days is relative, chronologically, to a lot of things.

If we’re young, it’s pretty common to feel this way in spite of the hardships all ages are enduring in the present economy.

Young people may feel they’ve inherited a mess, and to a degree I wouldn’t disagree. But, here’s another cliché for you: youth will be served.

My youth meant the feeling that no matter what I was going through, what I had to live through, the feeling that things would get better by sheer will of force and doing, was omnipresent. For instance, I was a Navy guy, and although sometimes I know I could have now easily been collecting retirement checks or whatever they give you for doing 20 years, when I was nearing the end of my one and only enlistment, I was completely ready to move on to the next phase of my life, whatever that was.

The career counselor came around, gave me the mandatory, “Are you sure you want to leave the military?” “re-up” talk. He was just doing his job and he knew I didn’t have anything at all lined up. My plans upon leaving my ship for the last time included buying a new car and a nice, new guitar, with the money I had saved, and little more.

In respect to what I’d do once “out,” things were plain to me as they could be. I was young, college grad age, and the world was to be my oyster. The naval career counselor in a low tone of voice offered, “You know you’re blowing off free medical, dental, room and board and opportunities for advancement in a good career, don’t you?”

I replied that I did know I was foregoing all that the Navy provided. He was not so much incredulous as he was of the knowledge that I was leaving no matter what he said, or how he said it.

I was prepared for his final question.

“So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know, but it’ll be better than this.”

And so it was done.

The best was yet to come, truly, and I felt it in my heart of hearts.

When we move on into our late 20s, our 30s and our 40s, we are making plans, trying to establish a foundation, a career, setting goals, having a family, raising a family, gathering experiences, reuniting with our nuclear family and trying to figure out why things are turning out the way they are—the good, the bad and the ugly. You make the best decisions you can with the information, skills and experience you have at the time and you keep moving forward, not looking back, and still, if life hasn’t beaten you down too much, you come out feeling the best is yet to come.

And so you keep moving and you keep living. You’re older, hopefully wiser and although you know that physically, in terms of your athletic prowess, your best capacity days and times are certainly behind you, that does not mean you stop enjoying the games of your youth entirely. To the contrary, you continue to play, you just adapt, adjust and learn to appreciate and love these games even more, whenever you can engage in them, whatever they might be, however and whenever, you can.

If good fortune is on your side you can grow old, and hopefully with family and friends you love that are with you most of the way.

You’ll be slowing down, sure, but to never stop thinking the best is yet to come while you’re living, is one of the best gifts of body, soul, heart and mind that you can give yourself.

The best is yet to come.  Believe it and you just might live happily ever after.



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