You know how on the television show Friends, Joey plays Dr. Drake Ramoray, a neurosurgeon on the fictitious soap opera Days of Our Lives? Well, at one point, while hanging out in Monica and Rachel’s apartment with the whole gang, he comments, “You know, these are the days of our lives” (cue the studio-audience laughter). For the purposes of the show, it was a classic punch-line. However, Joey wasn’t that far off.
Allow me to explain.
When my Dad was a little older than I am now, he did something that is both scary and inspiring. He graduated college, worked, saved money for two years, and then packed his belongings and flew to Europe with a few of his friends. With no solid plans, they bought a camper-van in London and traveled throughout Europe for about three months before deciding to find housing in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. He ended up living there for seven months, appreciating the rich culture and immersing himself in the language. Obviously, this was a very exciting and memorable time in his life. Very Days-of-Our-Lives-esque, one might say.
When I mentioned I was traveling to Barcelona, it was clear that my Dad really wanted me to visit his old home, and I knew I really needed to. Besides helping me embark on my own study-abroad journey in Europe, my Dad has done so much for me in all aspects of life. Paying his old home a visit was the least I could do.
As I was walking up to the address he had sent, I called my Dad on Facetime. When I turned the camera around so he could see my street view, I could see his face light up. As I carried my phone around the block, pointing at random buildings, pedestrians looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn't care. It was so cool to hear my Dad reminisce about his experiences and to literally walk in his footsteps at the same time. It was during that Facetime call when I had a revelation where I realized that once upon a time, my Dad was my age, with the same spontaneity and naive curiosity that I have now. And someday, I reasoned, I would be my Dad’s age, with my own stories to tell from when I traveled Europe as a 20-something year old.
In my opinion, life is all about meaningful moments like the one I shared with my Dad exploring his old home -- moments where you are fully present and reminded how wonderfully unpredictable life is. They can come from the simplest things, like driving with the windows down on a late summer afternoon, discovering the name of a really good song that's been stuck in your head, or meeting a friend’s smile across the room and knowing you love each other for exactly who you are.
Nevertheless, you never know when life will grant you a little moment worth remembering. They're quick to occur, and easy to miss. But, if you are able to catch a few, it’ll help remind you to stress less and enjoy more, because these really are the days of our lives.