If I were to be told that, in five minutes from now I would lose all memory of this past year, what moments would I want to hang on to the most? What highlights would I be able to scramble together in those last fleeting five minutes that I would most like to take with me into the void?
Well friends, I will tell you (because I spent five minutes figuring it out).
By no means is this a comprehensive list. Some of the moments and memories that came up over the course of my five-minute scan of 2010’s brain file aren’t really blog material. Don’t get too excited, I’m not talking about anything RIS-KAY or incriminating – Just things like specific memories of happy times with friends and family or the beginnings of new friendships. Similarly, memories of success in my client work, seeing as I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of some great projects and this was, after all, my first year out on my own as a freelancer. Also, most things about my dog, which I could go on, and on, and ON about.
I don’t think anyone else really wants and/or needs to know each and every little detail of these memories (so I’ll put them in my diary instead. You’re welcome).
As for the rest of 2010, here’s what I came up with:
My 25th birthday: No huge bash with hundreds of guests and a price tag of a couple grand for me – just a very wonderful day spent lounging by the pool, beverages in hand, with two of my closest friends. It was a relaxed, semi-spontaneous day with two people I love that reminded me of how lucky I am to have friends like them in my life.
Also, the cake they got me was awesome:
Visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: Aside from it being one of those landmark places that you just kind of have to go to when you visit Washington D.C., my first visit to the Museum of Natural History also served as a long over-due awakening for my inner child and all the wonderment that comes with it. It’s such an amazing place and, given half the chance, I’d spend as many days as necessary in that place, just to make sure I covered everything there is to see.
(Fun fact: What most people probably don’t know about me is that I have a deep-seated love for natural sciences. Had I been blessed with a more scientifically inclined mind, you would know me today not as Sara, the Enthusiastic Vagabond but as Sara, the Something-To-Do-With-Animals-And/Or-The Planet. I never could narrow it down).
Buying my first car: This is a little embarrassing for me to admit seeing as I’m the type of person that believes that vehicles are one of those things that young people should have to buy for themselves in order to really be able to respect and appreciate the responsibility of owning (Holy run-on sentence, Batman! Deep breath!). I didn’t actually buy my own vehicle until this year. In my defence, my first car was a old beast from the 80s that was given to me less because I deserved it and more because, being the rurally-located family that we have always been, giving me a car meant that my parents didn’t have to drive me back and forth to work after school every day. Don’t worry though, I like to think I paid them back when I became the new official chauffer for my three younger brothers.
Even though the circumstances that lead to me needing to buy this new car weren’t great (albeit retrospectively hilarious), I’m really glad it happened. It was an important life learning experience and, bonus! I now have a super sweet ride (that I respect and appreciate the responsibility of owning).
The War Child Challenge: This one probably comes as no surprise. Being invited by War Child Canada to partake in this amazing social-media-for-social-good project was a colossal honour. I’d like to remember everything about this experience, including but not limited to: the numb-in-the-limbs sensation that came over me as the reality of what I had been asked to do slowly set in, the amazing things I’ve learned and people I’ve met and even the evening I sat weeping in my car after over half of the Loyalist PR class volunteered their time to help me produce a video about child soldiers.
Seriously, I was expecting maybe two.
Being offered the opportunity to teach at my old college: Oh ho! What’s this? Why, no, I haven’t told you all about this yet. And that’s all the info you’re getting for now! Bwa ha ha! (But for serious – This is a massive honour and I’m really excited about it. More to come about this one soon!)
BlissDom Canada: Remember that conference that consumed virtually all of my thoughts from about August to late October/early November? Of course you do, I didn’t shut up about it.
BlissDom Canada was one of the most influential experiences of my year. I learned so much and walked away with so many memories that I hope to have forever and always (memories such as meeting and hugging one of my lady heroes, Catherine Connors and other fab new friends, standing up and saying my piece about the importance of online activism, being introduced to the music of Tanya Davis, also hugging it out with Twitter brosef, Scott Stratten and, of course, engaging in some hilariously awful Lady Gaga karoke with my beloved friend, Candice).
The very first time I heard Keith Harkin sing:
(And every time I’ve heard him sing since then. Also, the time I watched him perform “All I Want For Christmas is You”…)
Aaaaand moving on…
The birth of my friend’s first baby: No, I don’t have baby-fever, nor am in a place in my life where the concept of having a child myself is even on the radar. But I’m also at an age where I don’t know many people that are at this stage of their lives either, so when one of them finally is, it’s kind of a big deal. Something about watching a dear friend transition from being the person I always knew (hilarious friend, colleague and mentor, loving wife to a great husband) to being all of that PLUS a mother was kind of amazing. I’m sure this is a rite of passage of some kind.
Jasper’s puppies: Speaking of babies! As many of you probably know, my dog, Jasper, is probably the closest thing I may ever have to a dependent. I raised him from fuzzy, gangly puppyhood into the majestic beast he is now. He has always been a source of happiness and wonder for me. Also, he’s awesome.
This past fall, Jasper fathered a litter of puppies. I’ve whelped many a litter before, and while it never ceases to be an incredible experience – watching these tiny heartbeats take their first breaths and such – there was something really special about holding Jasper’s newborn offspring for the first time (Read: Grandpuppies! You’d better believe I cried!). Now he has an army of Mini-Mes, and as insane as it gets, it’s the beginning of his legacy, and that’s pretty cool.
And last, but not least…
That time I was bitten by a dog: And speaking of dogs! If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably caught the flurry of tweets a few weeks ago from the day that I spent in the ER after getting attacked by a dog (No, not Jasper).
I probably couldn’t forget that day if I tried, but you’re probably wondering why I’d choose to remember it at all.
For starters, you can’t really say that you work with dogs until you’ve been bitten by one (this is what they tell me, anyway). What will eventually be nothing more than a tiny scar on my forearm is something I’m already sporting around like some kind of badge of honour. I kind of feel like I’ve arrived, y’know? Like a formidable badass.
But more importantly, that experience was a wake-up call. That bite was 100% my fault and was a painful and frightening reminder that the only place where I might be a formidable badass, impervious to dog bites, is in my mind (for now).
It was a humbling experience that encouraged me to take a look at other places in my life that probably required a bit more humility. I think most people will experience something in their lives (personal, professional, whatever) that serves as a harsh reminder that we’re not as pro at something as we like to think we are (although hopefully less violent). In those times we can either pretend like the universe doesn’t know what it’s talking about or we can take a step back, acknowledge where we’re lacking and seek to better ourselves.
(And because I know that someone is wondering, the canine in question is fine and yes, we’re still buddies. He’s too cute to stay mad at anyway).
This post is part of the #reverb10 series – an online passion project that provides daily blogging prompts to encourage participants to “reflect on this year and manifest what’s next”. Sound like fun? It is. So what are you waiting for? Get your Reverb on!