My friend Vicki and I have been going to the symphony together for over 20 years now. Last night's program was my favorite in a long, long time; all Mozart. Jonathan Biss, a 20-something year old prodigy played Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major, K 482 with such emotional intensity I could not get over how young he is. The whole program brought me back to all those years ago, when Vicki and I first started attending the concerts together. We were studying for our Master's in Tax at Golden Gate University (which she went on to complete, I did not). We were young and just starting out our professional careers. I remembered what it felt like back then to sit there, listening, just basking in the excitement of living my future and having my whole life out in front of me.
I have not felt that way for a very long time, but did again during that piece last night. My mind wandered back to when I was 17 years old. I was nearing graduation from high school. I used to go shopping at a mall that I had always thought was so very sophisticated. There was a cafe there that I always wanted to eat in, it was really only a cafeteria-style restaurant, but to me it represented a taste of what I wanted my future life to be about. They had beautiful prepared foods behind a case and they played classical music, and it always seemed very elegant women were eating there. I pictured myself there drinking a cappuccino and listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons, perhaps reading a book. I was, in general, so excited about soon going off to college and figuring out what my life would be. I had my whole life out in front of me!
Last night, my mind drifted to another time when I felt such an overwhelming thrill at the possibilities my life had in store for me. I was getting ready to graduate college, and had my job in hand at a Big Eight accounting firm in San Francisco. This time it wasn't Vivaldi or Mozart that filled me with such emotion, but an MJB coffee commercial, ("MJB tastes good when it should"). They had a commercial showing a single, young woman waking up in her big city apartment, rising from bed, relishing her cup of coffee before going off to her professional-career-woman job. "That's me," I thought, "I am her!" It reminded me of Marlo Thomas in "That Girl," and Mary Tyler Moore, "you're going to make it after all." (Yes, the times have changed, at that time those were my only media role models for single, professional women out on their own.) Every time I saw that MJB commercial, my eyes welled up; I was so happy about my future and what life had in store for me.
Somewhere over the last 22 years since graduating college, I just got to the business of living my happy life, taking it all for granted, never really thinking about it anymore. It just operates on autopilot. But now, I feel exactly as I did when I graduated from high school, and then again when I graduated from college. Where might I take my life now? During last night's intermission when I was discussing my future with Vicki, I said "March 1st, the first day after I graduate, I mean retire," and then laughed as Vicki pointed out it IS kind of like graduating.
The familiarity of that feeling, brought back to me by a Mozart piano concerto, filled me with wonderment; I have got my whole life out in front of me again.