The Good Years

On premature nostalgia

Harris Sockel
Human Parts
Published in
2 min readOct 20, 2022


San Francisco and my fingers, September 2022.

“I was so busy setting up my life I didn’t realize… those were the good years! Those were the years when I should have been paying attention.”

A fifty-something-year-old friend said this to me yesterday. We were talking on the phone. I was pacing my living room, obsessing over all the micro- and macro-decisions I’ve been making lately: first and fifth dates, Zillow and StreetEasy listings. Cities I could try on like Warby Parker sunglasses. East coast vs. west coast vs. who do you want to be in a decade? You know, single thirty-something with no dependents problems.

I’m 35. If my life is a week, this is Wednesday morning. I’m a little tired, staring down decades of wall-to-wall work on either side. Hurtling forward into, I don’t know: a house, a partner, a vacation. Some kind of capital-A Achievement, anything to make this blur seem worthwhile. The last 15-ish years can feel like that: a blur. Late hours and Slack threads and emails and candles to “brighten up the space.” Docs and failures and intention-setting (but don’t call it that), then resetting the intentions when they don’t pan out the way anyone thought they would. Trying to move forward faster, always faster. Trying to locate the moving walkway that will help me speed past this part.

But these are the good years.

The half-done-Google-doc years. Short-term-lease years. Hunched-over-a-laptop years. Vaguely-annoying-but-not-life-threatening-medical-issue years. Posting-this-twee-and-sort-of-emo-blog years. Still-figuring-shit-out years, though I guess those never really end. Pacing a friend’s apartment, the apartment where I’m spending a few months until I find a place of my own, and yelling into the receiver about my unfinished life.

These are the years you’ll want to relive. These are the problems you’ll miss having. These are the roommates you’ll miss sharing a rice pot with. Studio apartments you’ll wish you could just casually stroll back into.

These are the best days of my life and I’m just flying through them. Look at me go.