Those that are closest to me know that one of my favorite places to be, when home, is out on my front terrace; late afternoon or evening, a fire going in the fire pit, a glass of wine, with either a good magazine or surrounded by friends.
The front terrace was part of Phase II of our remodel, completed about 7 years ago. It is literally an outdoor living room, and providing it’s not glaring hot or freezing cold, it’s a very pleasant place to be. Apartments, small single-family homes, hospitals and even a few businesses surround our 2-story home in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. Part of the charm of sitting out front is to be able to watch the world go by; people walking their dogs, going to and from work, pushing strollers, power-walking, etc.
One weekend evening around 9:00 I was sitting out on the terrace with a couple of my dogs, with a fire going, alternating between my Food & Wine magazine and my laptop. From the parking garage of the large apartment building across the street I hear the click-click-click of young female feet on the pavement. The sound echoes throughout expansive space, and I glance up to see a twenty-something woman, dressed to the nines, obviously heading out for a night with friends, or perhaps meeting someone for a date. She is dressed mostly in black, dark hair hanging down; she is accessorized just right, and although I can’t see that far away, I know her make-up is flawless.
I’m watching her, and I see the young woman I once was, 24+ years ago; the same outfit, the same accessories, same hair, and more than likely, the same hopes for the evening. Anticipation is in the air, as there is always that hope that, even if you’re out with girlfriends, you might still meet that special someone. Or perhaps that special someone you’re going to meet now might wind up being the one. You could also have just gone through a breakup with someone and need the company of your girlfriends in a fun and festive environment.
I know she sees me – the casually-dressed middle-aged woman, very settled in front of the fire, reading her magazine on the front terrace of her nice little 2-story home. As much as I feel a sense of nostalgia watching this young woman walk to her car, a part of me wonders if she is wondering if one day, she too, might enjoy what I have now. Could there be a part of this young woman, thinking to herself, “I will be so glad when I don’t have to go through all this trouble anymore, to meet someone special. How nice it would be to one day have what that lady across the street has; to be sitting in comfortable clothing, a couple of dogs at her feet, in front of a nice fire, with a glass of wine.”
I tell myself that last part anyway, but to be honest, that young woman may have well been too preoccupied to be concerned with anything other than getting out and meeting up with her friends or date. It’s doubtful I’ll ever know for sure. The truth is we all need to get out there and experience life before just settling. We can have goals and aspirations at any age, but there is certainly no template on how it’s all really going to play out. I appreciate what I have now, because I got a chance to be that young woman during a chapter of my life. I had fun back then. But I am truly enjoying life now.