Sunday, December 30, 2012

30 for 30: #11

Way back when (October) I decided to answer 30 questions to celebrate my 30th birthday. Now that I'm nearly 30 years and three months old, I thought I'd get back to it. And, if you do so desire, there's still time to ask a question, too!

#11/30 -- from p2

What were your 30 most memorable moments in the last 30 years?

I'm not quite sure I answered your question, p2. The following list is more a list of the 30 most defining moments in my last 30 years, not the 30 most memorable. This list is a list of events that were critical in shaping me, but not necessarily what I would qualify as memorable. (I feel like a memorable event has a good story that is attached to it and that's not always the case.)

1. Meg being born I would not be the same person if I did not have Meg. I would not be the same person if I wasn't the oldest sibling. I would not be the same person if I did not have a sister.

2. Acceptance into UM Good but not great student, a legacy, is the first in her class to be accepted into the best school in the state. I thought a lot more of myself after receiving that acceptance letter.

3. South Africa A monstrosity of a trip to plan. And I planned it successfully. Experiencing South Africa changed my worldview. I learned a lot about myself executing the planning for that trip and I learned a lot about myself when I was on that trip, too.

4. Being named captain of high school soccer team Everything I had and everything I was in high school revolved around the soccer team. I was a soccer player. I was nothing else. Being named captain of the team was very, very validating. But knowing that my coach thought of me as a leader - even though I was quiet, even though I wasn't terribly popular like some of my teammates - was what really stuck with me.

5. Starting a blog I've written it before, I will write it again: I do not know who I would be if not for this blog as a place to sort it all out. And I am so grateful that I have this place to chronicle my 20s and beyond.

6. Meeting Lucy My best friend is the best best friend.

7. Travelling overseas for the first time It was for a soccer tournament. I was 14. And I still can remember standing in the streets of Amsterdam, looking around myself and realizing how big the world really is.

8. The lengthy debacle that was Colin While that relationship was a complete, lengthy, complicated gong show, it needed to happen. I needed those experiences. I needed that heartbreak.

9. Speaking at Grandma’s funeral I don't consider myself an extrovert. I certainly don't hog the spotlight. It's not something I would normally do (or even consider). But when Grandma died in 2003, I was compelled to speak on behalf of her grandchildren. I did it eloquently and in my own words. I still remember looking up and seeing my cousin Danielle smiling at me. I still remember what my uncle said to me later that day.

10. Lucy’s wedding When Lucy got married, I learned that I could step up. I could throw her a wedding shower, I could make favors, I could set up the venue. I was so afraid that I would lose her to Chet and to married life and I could have withdrawn from our friendship. I didn't. I'm glad.

11. The Coach He started out as a coworker and became a pretty big deal in my life. He's challenged me, he's challenged my assumptions and my expectations and what I believed to be true. Whatever happens between us and however this ultimately ends up, The Coach has left an impression on me.

12. Aunt Marie’s amputation Cutting off part to save the whole. It isn't a metaphor.

13. Studying in Denver I lived and studied in Denver for a spell after finishing up at UM. Having attended college so close to home, Denver was my first real opportunity to do it all on my own. My parents didn't visit. I didn't make a lot of close friends. And somehow I figured it out.

14. Puking in Liz’s shoe on my birthday Always cautious, always doing the right thing, the birthday when I got trashed and barfed in my cousin Liz's shoe marked the long overdue beginning of giving myself a damn break instead of having to be so perfect and so in control.

15. Learning to love fitness In college, I didn't work out. I didn't know how to work out. I was still figure skating and I walked everywhere and that was enough. When I finished college, Meg and I joined a kickboxing gym and that's when I learned what it was like to be in shape and how much better it feels than being out of shape.

16. Uncle Rich's death My dad's older brother died when I was a freshman in high school. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. It was the first time I had been to a funeral. It was a scary, confusing time that solidified my closeness to my cousins. We have so many stories -- funny stories -- from that weekend we were in Cincinnati for Uncle Rich's funeral. We needed one another. We still do.

17. Moving in 5th grade When my family moved, we moved back to my mom and dad's hometown. Because we moved, I was closer (physically and emotionally) to my grandparents. Because we moved, I got to grow up on a lake. At the time, I hated my parents for relocating us and for making me go to a new school and meet new friends; it was the best choice they've ever made.

18. The very intense friendship and subsequent breakup with a friend, Jessica Our friendship sort of tainted my entire college experience and that I’ve never quite found the words (or the insight) to write about it. One day.

19. Aunt Marie’s death It was so hard. It is still so hard.

20. Returning to soccer after a four-year absence I didn't play soccer for four years. And one day I decided to go up to the local indoor soccer facility and sign myself up for a team. Can you even imagine me not playing soccer? Can you?

21. Working at summer camp In the summer of 2002 -- between my sophomore and junior years of college -- I worked at a really traditional summer camp in Pennsylvania. I don't know why I thought I wanted to do that. I cried when my mom dropped me off at camp. I missed Meg's 16th birthday. I was miserable.

22. Tackling graduate school as a legitimate adult who works full time Granted, it wasn't a terribly challenging program, but I still managed to work 40+ hours of week, go to class, get my work done, never sleep and come out on the other side with a degree. More proof that I am tougher than I give myself credit for.

23. The birth of Lucy and Chet’s son, Baby A Much like Lucy's wedding, I thought Baby A would change things. He did. For the better. I didn't know that I had the capacity to instantly love someone like I instantly loved Baby A.

24. Figuring out that Dad was cheating on Mom and everything that followed They were some of the worst months of my life. Within those months, learned that I will do just about anything for my family. I learned the power of forgiveness. I learned that nothing is perfect.

25. Gaining a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding of mental illness through my cousins Emma and Danielle Having two very close, very dear family members struggle with mental illness really colors the way that I look at other people's problems.

26. My college job, coaching skating I will never have a job that I love as much as I loved that job.

27. A bad concussion It takes being sick for a long time to understand what it's like to be sick for a long time.

28. Finally, finally, finally quitting the job that I got right out of college It was as hard to leave as it was hard to go to work there every day. There's something about that first job, right? You care way, way too much and then you outgrow your position and then you're stuck figuring out who and what you are and need. I grew up a lot when I held that job. I learned a lot about business, a lot about myself as an employee and a lot about how much schoolwork I could squeeze in when I'm on the clock.

29. Uncle Alan quitting the family It's been -- I don't know -- maybe 15 years since Uncle Alan stopped coming to family events and cut his sisters and my grandparents out of his life for reasons they were never told. Witnessing what one decision by one person can do (which, at some points, nearly destroyed the family) influenced how I make my life choices. Maybe I would be more willing to take a risk and do what is right for me at the expense of others if it wasn't for Uncle Alan. But I just can't stand the thought of hurting my family. I can't stand it. 

30. Saturday, October 2, 1982 I was born on a sunny fall day. You can't have a story without a beginning.


Paul Michael Peters said...

Thank you for sharing. A much better answer than I could have dreamed of. Happy New Year! I look forward to another great year of your writing.

Anonymous said...

Such beautiful writing! And a beautiful life!

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