I’ve been fantasizing a lot lately about 2003. I haven’t been able to say precisely what it is about that year in particular that has been pulling at me, but it’s been going on long enough that I’ve become curious enough to indulge exploring potential reasons.

When I do, I realize 2003 was a temporal fulcrum of sorts in my life. I was emerging from circumstances where it felt like I’d just ended up, and was instead planning a future I intentionally crafted. I was living on my own and single for the first time in my adult life.

Apart from motherhood, which I did not view in terms of its limitations but rather its advantages, there were essentially no constraints on my choices. Laid before me was a landscape of boundless possibility. I was confident and assured that whatever I decided, it would be realized through dint of will and work, with no other outcome seriously weighed.

Just Cause You Feel It Doesn’t Mean It’s There

My visual memory of that year is limned in golden light; I am sitting on the balcony at the Brazen Bean with a lavender martini, dappled sunshine playing across my bare arm. I am driving Datsy to Seattle to see Radiohead with giant sunglasses firmly in place. My sister and I are tromping across the footbridge at Drift Creek Falls during a weekend of campfires and pirate jokes.

I have no doubt whatever that the truth of that year was much more variegated than memory serves. Romantically, I enjoy the version I’ve created in my head rather enough to prefer it over the pesky truth, anyhow.

I do know it was before I made what ended up being some fateful and less-than-completely-well-advised choices about my education. It was before I met the person who would change the course of my life such that unto the very day, most of my social circle is comprised of people met through his offices. It was before I lost the girl I still think of as occupying the role of “never to be replaced love of my life/best friend” It was before I had to reconcile myself to the notion I’d only have one child, may never remarry, and that ultimately my life would turn out looking a lot different than I expected.

I am happier, healthier, and far far wiser now, than I was in 2003. Though I think certain things would be easier if I had made different choices all those years ago; it’s really impossible to say. If I’d pursued a different course of study or attended a different university, how different things would be. Of course in that backcasting “If I knew then what I know now…” lament is something everyone falls prey to from time to time and while I’ll indulge up to a point, I also know it serves no purpose other than to entertain.

To that end, I’m setting aside the wondering and complied a playlist: Chutes Too Narrow, Fever To Tell, Dangerously In Love, Boy In Da Corner, More Parts Per Million, and Hail To The Thief. As far as entertainment goes, that’s been far more definite and much more rewarding.