Growing up, my mom’s favorite song to play for us was ‘Stay Gold’ by Stevie Wonder. Remember that song from ‘The Outsiders’? One of the greatest songs of all time?! Yeah. That one. Its one of my favorites.
The first verse goes like this:
Seize ... upon the moment of long ago
One breath away and there you will be
So young and carefree again you will see
That place in time
You don’t ever realize in the moment that the ‘gold’ times are ‘gold’ do you? You never understand how good it is, until it’s over. Right?
I want to talk about ‘seasons of life.’
(fair warning - I say seasons of life approximately 38,790 times in this post, I’m SORRY.)
When I think about “seasons of life” I’ll think of a specific time in my past and who I was at that time.
Who my best friend was, where I was living, what my favorite shirt was, what music I was into, who I had a crush on, ect. All those little things that make up that place in time. Certain smells. Friend groups. routines.
Like the time in my life when my parents played on a coed softball team and my cousins and I spent every Tuesday and Thursday night at the ballpark. Those were the DAYS! We ran that shit! We would stake out the playground, claim our territory and serve a swift right hook to the eye of any dumb boy who tried to tell to us to leave. Feminists since age 5.
Or the time in my life where I would run over to Macayla Madsen’s house after school and we’d play rockband and eat cereal and watch the high school musical trailer on disneychannel.com 50 times in a row until it was time to give our webkinz a bath.
You get what I’m saying?
You don’t realize it while you’re in it, but we’re always in a “season” of some sort. And the sad, beautiful, anxiety inducing reality is that we never get to relive these “seasons.”
They’re so incredibly specific to who you’re around, what state of mind you’re in, and everything you’re experiencing.
Unlike spring, summer, fall and winter, we only get these “seasons” once in a lifetime.
Even the completely mundane, ordinary days of your life make up a season that you will never get back. One that you will probably miss a lot someday.
For example, I never thought I’d miss waking up at 6 am for cheerleading practice until years after I graduated high school. Not that it was necessarily fun, but just the fact that I know I will never be a 16 year old running around the track whistling at all the football players with my best friends again. I can’t go back. And I wish I would have spent less time complaining every time my alarm went off every morning. I wish I woke up knowing “this won’t last forever.”
Because just like the song says,
“Nothing gold can stay.”
For me, a prominent “season” that comes to mind is when I moved out for the first time. This was about two years ago and it was liberating. I was hesitant to move out because I was constantly traveling and couldn’t see the use in paying for a place I was hardly at. But one day I saw a girl who I was internet friends with, post on instagram that she needed a roommate and by the next weekend… I was moved in. It was one of the most spontaneous decisions I’ve ever made, but truly one of the greatest.
We became best friends fast. We shared a tiny room together and stayed up every single night talking. We’d just sit in the dark talking out loud, until one of us eventually crawled in the other one’s bed to show them the new girl our ex was hooking up with or something.
Nothing extremely life changing occurred during this part of my life, so at the time, it was hard to view it as a monumental life experience I would look back on for years to come - but I think we never fully realize that until years later anyway. Regardless of whether I knew it or not… these months that Kate and I lived together were some of the best times of my life. Every single day was fun. Even the simple tasks. We were both working - I was filming weddings 3-4 times a week and Kate was doing hair. She’d come to shoots with me, and I’d come visit her at the salon. When we were home, we spent our nights prank calling exes, going to Mcdonalds at 3 am in our pajamas, making music videos and filling out applications to various “sugar daddy” websites. People would look shocked when I told them I had a roommate. It was always followed by “don’t you hate sharing a room??” But the truth is, I didn’t. And she didn’t. I thought about it all the time actually, about if we had our own rooms. And we both agreed that we would be so lonely, we’d end up sleeping in the same room anyway.
The second verse in ‘Stay Gold’ says,
“Steal ... away into that way back when
You thought that all would last forever
But like the weather nothing can ever
And be in time
And that’s the way I felt about this time in my life. It was so good, I could never picturing it ending.
You never really do, you know?
In December of that year, I remember Kate coming home one night and walking in the room saying “hey, Ind can I talk to you for a second?” I was confused, and caught off guard. That question is always fun to hear right?? Your brain starts racing. We stood there and I thought it would be something like “listen, you gotta stop stealing my tampons” but then I saw the look on her face and for some reason I knew exactly what she was about to say.
“I just wanted to tell you that I’m moving out at the end of the month.” She said.
I was completely caught of guard and blindsided. We had never talked about this! I looked at her as tears filled my eyes and with the shakiest voice I simply said, “Okay” and turned and walked out the door. I got in my car and drove around all night, sobbing.
I had never felt so betrayed!
I don’t know why I took it so hard, because I knew it wasn’t personal. She wanted a bigger space, she wanted to live closer to work, closer to a better social scene - and the opportunity arose. It was simply just another season of life coming to an end. But it felt equal to heartbreak. Like my best friend wanted a divorce.
“We’ll still be best friends” is something she told me, and something I told myself often, to ease the pain.
And to this day, Kate is still someone I consider my best friend. That pain subsided and we still hang out and laugh and go to Mcdonalds at 3 am.
We don’t make cookies in the middle of the night like we used to, we don’t go to target strictly for taquitos anymore, we don’t sit on our balcony and cry to each other like we did so many times before. Because that season of life is over. Those versions of who we were, are gone.
And that’s okay. The thing is, this is all just apart of life. Life moves fast, it flows and it changes. We’re both happy though. And in fact, we’re both unknowingly in other stages of life that we will cry about someday when they’re over.
But you know what? I’d give just about anything to have one more sleepover in that tiny little apartment.
The third verse of the song goes like this,
But can it be ... when we can see
So vividly a memory
And yes you say so must the day
To fade away
And leave a ray of sun
Some of the most vivid memories and significant seasons I think about, are the different boyfriends I had and the time we spent together.
They must come to an end eventually, but I do believe that even the worst relationships can leave a ray of sun.
There was Zach.
When I think about that season of my life, I think about driving up an hour and a half to go to his mom’s house. I loved that drive. I loved texting him saying “Im here!” and him coming out to get me every single time. It was never “come in.” He would always come out, open my car door and gave me the biggest hug. I loved his dog, I loved his family, I loved our life together. We would go out into the city and he was always showing me new things. New restaurants or lakes, new look outs or churches even. Everything was new, and everything was exciting. We went to Paris together. We went to Mexico together. We drove around Iceland in a tiny van for two weeks together. It was a whirlwind of a relationship and such a beautiful stage of life. We needed each other at that time, and I think we taught each other a lot. We experienced things, we experienced the world, and when it ended, it was hard.
I remember driving up to his mom’s house on the day before he left to go work in Ohio for the summer. It was the same drive as always, and one that I really enjoyed. But this time I was a little quieter. I didn’t know what was going to happen with our relationship. He was leaving, and I didn’t know if I was going to wait for him to get back. I got to his house, and I remember texting him that I was there, and I remember him coming out to get me as usual. He gave me the biggest hug, just like he always did, but this time, I held on a little longer.
It was a normal day. I talked to his mom for awhile, helped him pack, we watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians (he was a real gem) I played with his dog, I hung out with his sister, but when it was time to leave… I knew it was “time to leave.”
I think for the first time in my life, I realized in the moment that I actually was facing a season of life come to an end. I got a lump in my throat as I stood there in his living room, quietly taking it all in because deep down, I think I knew it would be the last time. And it was.
It was time to leave.
Then there was Landon.
Landon was a season of life that took me for a RIDE. I’ve never fallen so hard, so fast for someone. We hung out for a couple months before we got a big group of friends and went on a trip to Dubai. And that’s where we fell in love. Seriously! I remember sitting on the front of this massive yacht that we somehow finessed our way on to, and looking at him thinking “oh, this is how people fall in love on The Bachelor.” And I silently apologized to all of the whiny girls that I had judged before. I was smitten. We decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend on the plane ride home and we were inseparable ever since. I came home from that trip, went straight into my moms bedroom, dropped my luggage and said “Mom, I’m gonna marry this boy.”
We’d stay up every night, just talking. I’d never met anyone that I liked talking with that much. We couldn’t sleep because he wanted to know about all of my favorite teachers I had in elementary school and I needed to know in depth all of his worst fears. We weren’t hardly ever on our phones, because we didn’t need to be. Reality, at that point in time, was so much better than anything virtual.
When I think about that phase of life that we were together, I think about breakfast. It was just our thing. In my normal every day life, I was never awake early enough to eat breakfast. But Landon loved it, and he was such a good cook. Life was waking up in his salt lake apartment to the smell of eggs, hash browns, bacon, pancakes - you name it. Every single morning. And every time, I’d turn on some music, and we would slow dance around the kitchen as we waited for our eggs to cook. For real, for real. It was so cute it could make a thug weep. I think about us going to our favorite breakfast place, Park Cafe, and how he’d let me wait in the heated car while he ran out in the snow in his Michael Jordan flip flops he’d had since high school - to make us a reservation. And when we weren’t in the city, and Park Cafe wasn’t an option, we still made time for breakfast. Even if it was to drive across town to go to his favorite diner. We’d go to Starbucks or Denny’s or McDonald’s or where ever he could get coffee and I could get a pancake.
When that season of life ended, I fell back into my old ways. These days, I sleep in again, and I rarely have time to make breakfast let alone to go out and get it.
But to be honest…I can still remember the Park Cafe menu word for word, I can still remember the taste of his bitter coffee, I can still remember his laugh when I’d taste it and twist my face in disgust, and I can still remember the way the kitchen smelled every morning in that little Salt Lake City apartment.
I had never been a morning person, but with him… I was.
And finally… there’s Jackson.
I was 16 when I fell in love with him. He was my first everything. My first date, my first school dance, my first make out, (and first hickey thank you very much) my first boyfriend, my first love.
Jackson and I have lived through countless seasons together. He’s been a starring role in more “seasons” than anyone else in my life. Like a tv show run.
It started with the season where he was the quarterback and I was the cheerleader and I would crush on him from the sidelines. He asked me to homecoming and kissed me on the doorstep and the rest was history. We had the best most stupidly cliche storyline - but it was as perfect as it was in the movies.
Then there was the season where we were finally boyfriend and girlfriend. He never went to school until he started dating me. His attendance improved by 100% simply because he was so excited to see me in the halls. It was the classic high school romance where we’d wait outside of each others classes and wait until the verrrrry laaaaast possible second to go to our next one. In this phase of our lives, we loved to go to movies. During one Christmas break we saw every single movie in the theater. We’d skip class every day and drive around town listening to lil wayne, and then we’d go home and watch gossip girl on his bean bag until it was time to go home.
There was the time when he told me he loved me and I said it back. We were obsessed with each other. One time he bought me lingerie for valentines day, and my mom was thiiiis close to forbidding me to ever see him again - when he called her and explained himself and apologized - making her adore him even more. We were skipping even more school to go makeout in parking lots, and he even got a black eye during a basketball game, because one of the players on the other team winked at me. We were crazy about each other. There really is something so fun about being 17 and being madly in love.
There was the time his senior year was ending and we started to talk about our futures. He was leaving for two years on a mission and I knew I wanted to wait. I knew I wanted to marry him someday. We went to prom and during the last song, we wandered off into the corner to have our own special moment. I put my head on his chest and cried. That ending was heavy, and I felt it deep. I still had a year of high school but I remember knowing and understanding in that moment - that our perfect little high school romance was over.
The time when I sent him off on a mission, and we sat on the the curb holding each other, crying, knowing it would be the last time we’d see each other for two years. He promised he’d love me forever.
There was season where he was back from his mission, and he was at my house every day, practically apart of my family. Playing video games with my dad long after I had gone to sleep, playing basketball with my brothers or out to lunch with my mom while I was at work.
There was the season where we started to fight more than usual. Nothing was going according to plan. I thought I had my entire life planned out, but things were spiraling out of our control. Timing was so off and we didn’t know what to do. He broke up with me at 2 am in his car outside of my house on October 2nd, 2015 - I stumbled inside and fell to the ground. I remember looking out the window hours later and seeing him still in his car - head on his steering wheel, crying just as hard as he was when I left.
Then there was the season where he turned cold and refused to talk to me. He got depressed and for the first time in his life… he got mean. I begged him to try things again with me, but he was miserable. We both were. The boy who I loved, was breaking my heart over and over again. I would walk by my mom’s room at night and see her kneeling down by her bed, praying for me, with tears running down her face.
There was the season of life where we got back together a million times, but had to sneak around due to my protective parents disapproval. When he’d have to park down the street and I’d run to his car. We would drive to a field and lay in the grass watching the stars because we weren’t allowed at my house.
There was the season years later where we were madly in love again, watching the fourth of July fireworks on the sidewalk outside of in-n-out. No one knew except us, but we liked it that way. Things were getting better. We spent the entire summer together.
Then there was the season where things got bad… again.
The season when I got a boyfriend and tried to forget about him. The season when I cried every night because I couldn’t.
The season where I was happy, living an entirely separate life from him - for an entire year. But deep down I missed him every single day.
And then… there was season where we hadn’t seen each other in years but randomly ended up living in LA at the same time. I ran to him and he smiled and twirled me around as if it was 2013 and we had just won a football game. We melted into each other like no time had passed. Like we were 17 year olds at prom, begging time to stop.
There was the season when things were so good, it felt like the universe was just begging us to be together. We were finally together, just us two, in a new city all alone - away from everyone who had judged us before. We went to the beach for the first time in our seven years of knowing each other. We went to the movies again. We saw a star is born and I cried for 3 hours after the movie was over because it paralleled our life so much. We’d go to the park, we’d go grocery shopping. We did the simple things we dreamed of doing when we were young and in love so many years ago. We’d lay in bed at night looking at the ceiling talking about our dreams. Where we wanted to live. What we wanted to name our kids. Things were so good. When they’re good - they’re perfect. But when they’re bad… they are unimaginable.
And just like all the seasons before… things started to get bad again.
There was the season of life where he would yell at me so loud, cops would be called on us and ask me if I was okay. I lied every time.
The season of life where he would storm out in a fit of rage, leaving me alone in his bedroom for hours, not knowing if he would ever come back.
The season of my life where he jumped out of my moving car and I sat there, shaking, not being able to breathe, trying to ignore the voice in my head telling me I needed to leave. immediately. for good.
But of course I ignored it. I pulled my car over and ran after him in the pouring rain. I found him down the street I held him on the side of the curb like he was a child.
I thought about sitting on the curb the night before he left on his mission when he was 18 years old. We held each other and cried, just like we were doing this night. But we were so innocent then. They were happy tears. He promised he’d love me forever. Now we were so damaged. So sad. How did this happen? I sat there holding him, loving him so much even though he would hurt me, and he would hurt me even though he loved me. We would try and fix each other. Try and fix us. You can’t give up on your first love, right? We’d sit there trying to fix it all knowing deep down it was doomed.
We were breaking each other’s hearts. In every season.
And we knew it was coming to an end. After 7 years. We just laid there, on the side of the road, holding each other and crying. Hating it all. I didn’t know if I was brave enough to face this season of life come to an end. But my younger self, my older self and deep deep deep down, my current self… were begging me to.
When a season of life ends - specifically with a boyfriend - it’s usually harder than any other season you will live. Because those are the ones you really don’t get back. It’s different than graduating from high school, or your roommate moving out. You don’t get to revisit your old relationships like you can at a basketball game, or a 10 year reunion. You don’t get to stay best friends with your exes like you can with an old roommate. You say goodbye to your routine, your favorite places, your favorite songs. You say goodbye to their family, their dogs, their living rooms. You say goodbye to who you were as a person when you were together - because you’ll never be the same version of yourself again. There’s a lot of goodbye’s including obviously, the person you loved. And boy, is it painful. Because when it’s over - it’s really over.
It always does.
The last verse of ‘Stay Gold’ says,
Life ... is but a twinkling of an eye
Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
Though not imagined all things that happen
Will age too old
I think about that. How life is is ‘a twinkling of an eye.’ It goes by so fast. And theres nothing that will make you feel more grown up than looking at your family, who you have grown up with throughout your entire life and spent, essentially, every season with.
I’ll never forget my little brother Danny leaving on a mission last fall. It was a big time for our family, who is - and has always been - really close. He left on a church mission for two years and we have very limited contact with him during this time. The months leading up were hard. There were a lot of ‘lasts.’ His last family vacation before he left, his last movie night, his last time listening to ‘Mo Bamba’, ect.
The preparation for the event of him leaving had been going on for so long that it was sometimes hard to soak it all in and cherish the last moments together as a family. It really didn’t hit me until the Sunday before he left.
He gave a talk in church and my whole family gathered to listen to him speak.
We crammed on a row right up front, like we had done so many times before. But this time - it hit me a little harder. I looked down at my family, Mary scratching Lukes back, my dad passing gum down to the rest of us, and my mom trying to hold back tears during the hymns. Jake and I busting up laughing at something and Danny catching our eye from the stand and trying his best to stifle his own laughter. It was the most familiar scene I had ever known.
And suddenly the words entered my mind
“This is the last time.”
Now, that could have been the drama queen inside of me begging for attention. Danny would only be gone for two years, and surely when he returns, we’ll be right back here, crammed on this row playing tic tac toe on Lukes back while mom begs us to sing along.
But I knew deep down, that things would be different. Really different. You go to church your whole life with your family, and the funny thing about using church as an example is that it’s a constant throughout all seasons of life. When my parents were on the coed softball team, when I was a cheerleader in highschool and throughout every boyfriend -I’d find my way back at church crammed on a row with my 7 person family no matter what was going on in my life.
So it was kind of heavy to sit and wonder if this really would be the last time.
By the time Danny gets home from his mission two years from now - Luke will be ready to leave on his. Jake could be married, and god forbid anything happen to any one of us, but it really could be the last time it was just all seven of us crammed on one row - all together, just our little family.
Two days later, we sat at the airport anxiously glancing at the clock every 2 minutes waiting for the “last boarding call” so we could say goodbye to Danny, and this chapter of our family’s life as we knew it. We tried to act calm, and fill the time with conversation. We sat in the corner of this airport cafe telling stories, trying to keep things light. To anyone passing they might not realize how big of a moment this was for all of us, but in just a few short moments, everything was about to change.
We told all of our favorite “Danny” stories. We reminisced on the days of my dad coaching Danny’s baseball team for all those years. We talked about the time my mom made Danny a homemade skunk costume for halloween and how Jake was so embarrassed of us that he refused to let he and I come with - leaving me and danny to trick or treat just the two of us. We were racking our brains trying to think of something - anything, just to hold on a little bit longer. But Danny finally looked at us and said
“Guys, I love you, but…It’s time to go.”
And we couldn’t fight it. It was time. Danny’s new season of life was begging to begin, and we had to let it happen.
We hugged and cried and when it was finally my turn, I sobbed into his shoulder. He whispered to me, “will you still be my best friend when I come home?”
And I remembered the two of us walking around the neighborhood on halloween all those years ago, Danny in his little skunk costume, my little best friend. How did we get here? How are we grown up already? How did it get so late so soon?
I nodded. “Of course, bud.”
He walked through security, and just as he was almost out of view - he turned his head, smiled and waved.
Just like that. It was over.
A month later, my older brother Jake moved up to Salt Lake City and a couple weeks after that I moved too. I was headed to the City of Angels! Something I had always wanted to do since I was a little girl. Most of the time we are completely unaware of the seasons that come and go but I felt this one in my bones. I was excited, I was ready and I wasn’t - all at the same time, but it was calling me. I packed my bags with goosebumps just imagining what my new life would bring. Just like Danny’s, my newest season of life was begging to begin.
I stayed pretty busy the night before I left, barely leaving my room unless it was to take a box out to my car.
At about 10pm, I walked down the stairs to load up some things, and I stopped for a second.
I looked out into the living room and watched. My family was all down there, like they are every Sunday, watching football.
It was such a normal scene but it stopped me dead in my tracks. I took a picture.
My mom had her feet out on the table in her slippers, laptop on her lap probably doing some last minute Christmas shopping. My dad was in full Rams gear, eyes glued to the screen. Mary was in the corner, suffocating our puppy Goldie - but always right in the action. Right before I took this picture I heard her say with exasperation “Ugh they need to get it together. They’re falling apart.” And then there’s Luke, who is literally in motion on his way up to help me carry down some things. I didn’t even ask him to either, he’s just so aware like that. Even the little details give me a lump in my throat. The ladder next to the tree so my dad can put the star on top. Goldie’s little monkey toy lying on the couch. My dad’s sparkling water that he loves so much on the coffee table. The puzzles laying out. The Christmas decorations we’ve had since 2004. The pillows and blankets by the fire where I usually sit reminding me that my “spot” would soon be empty.
My parents went from having 5 kids in the house to two in a matter of weeks. I sat there, taking in the scene. A completely normal, totally ordinary scene, but it took everything in me not to burst into tears.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life which is never not now.”
I’m forever thankful that I caught that special little moment.
So here we are now.
Ive been in LA for nearly 5 months and it’s been wonderful. I’m trying to be aware of this season while i’m in it — I don’t want to take anything for granted. Right now it’s me and my roommate Kenzie in our little apartment having an ongoing war with our downstairs neighbor. Its Trader Joes, it’s Mel’s diner, its sunset blvd and saddle ranch. It’s trying to fit in with the “LA scene” and nothing ever working out for us, and it’s driving down the PCH and watching the sunset in Malibu. I love it so much and it’s easier to get through the harder days knowing that someday I’ll miss sleeping on a mattress on the floor and watching the ‘nikes’ music video with Kenzie 17 times a night. I never want this to end, but I find comfort knowing that once it does there will be something just as good waiting around the corner.
This is life.
They say nothing gold can stay, but I don’t think thats true. You’ll always be saying goodbye to phases of life. Those moments will fade, but with that brings a new shiny golden season right to your door.
Its true that it ends.
But I think that if you are always aware of life as it’s happening, if you’re always fully present in the now…
You can stay gold forever.