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“Well, how have things been? Love, now that you mention it”

Noah Kahan opens All My Love.

It’s a question that I think about often.

“I’m saying too much, but you know how it gets out here”, duh.

I’m six; I’m asking myself at 22. I’m 45 and reflecting on myself at 28. I’m 96 and telling myself at 64 that it’s a beautiful stage (or so I’m hoping).

I’m oddly aloof but wildly self-aware. I don’t know how any of my investments really work until my dad and the poor service representative explain it to me (and we do this semi-often). I don’t comprehend how car batteries charge as the car runs but my best friend Henry has told me so. I’ve been told that I don’t grasp the ideology of PBA cards but my Aunt Rodger will break it down.

However, I know my own emotions. I can name everyone as they happen. I know my gut and I trust it. I know exactly what I want and at what age. And I think that I know what I’ll need at every age after.

Shocking...I know, but I don’t know it all. However, I know that five-year-old Clare and her self-portrait titled “Queen of the Clothes” is proud. I know seven-year-old Clare with a Barbie called Ms. Doomsdale Fashion-Passion would be clapping over my style choices now. I know that sixteen-year-old me would be proud yet shocked that I’m living in New York City and also that my mom is a friend, not a foe. Twenty-five-year-old Clare would be screaming if she knew she didn’t actually die of heartbreak. Currently, this version is over the moon that I'm not on Oak Street. "Well, how have things been?" can be answered with high praises.

Even a year ago, I knew my situation was temporary. I knew two roommates in a party center of one of the world’s biggest cities wasn’t the long-term dream. But it was for that moment. And it'll be something that I will always look back on with chaotic love for.

Ironically, I’m on the M7 this evening. I’m passing the Warwick and I looked up at the exact moment we crossed paths. What’s so special here? It was one of the first dates that my Grandpa Larry took my G. They sat in the parlor bar and were served with white gloves. He wanted to make her feel special. She did. May 21st, 2023 was her 93rd birthday. She mentioned to me a few months earlier that she didn’t think she’d ever get back into New York. She was wrong, because for her 93rd...we took her to the Morgan Museum which was on her Bucket-List, and to the d*mn Warwick. She is 34,330 days old and can reflect with "Love, now that you mention it.." with the admiration for the past and the beauty of still having firsts.

She’s the oldest in my family tree. She is the star atop the Irish-Catholic Christmas tree. She was born into the Depression. She lived through World War II; and had a husband and his brothers sent overseas. She has six children and has had to watch two leave this lifetime. She has a gaggle of us grandkids and she has four great-grandchildren.

Most don’t look forward to getting old. But I do. I’ve seen the beauty, the knowledge, the memories collected. My mother always said I wanted to grow up too fast. She thought I just wanted to party without consequence. But the truth is that I wanted to grow up so I could just grow. I’m going to peak the day that I’m the star upon my own family tree. I’m in no rush and quite enjoying the roses. I’ve been slowly exploring every phase. However, at the end of it all, when my 96-year-old self asks the imaginary younger versions of myself: “Well, how have things been?” I want to be able to answer with “Love, now that you mention it…” and tell tales of “I did” rather than “what ifs”.

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