Friday, April 12, 2013

The List: In One Year

 The summer after I graduated college, I was living at home and working my first full-time job. I was saving money and planning a move to Minnesota. I was figuring out life after college.

One day on my lunch break, I was reading in the cafeteria when I looked up to see a guy I knew. He was the friend of an ex-boyfriend and I knew he did not think highly of me. Still, it surprised me when we made eye contact and he stared at me with a look of hatred. He held my gaze for as long as I let him and his eyes burned with animosity. I could not stop thinking about it and by the time I left work that day, I felt sick.

It wasn't until that night, going over the image for the millionth time, that I realized something and just like that, let it go. I started thinking about everything that had happened since the last time I saw him. I realized that he did not know me, not really. A list of events from the last year started populating in my head, each one pushed me forward. And suddenly I was too far away to be touched, too far for his eyes and his anger to hurt me.

As soon as I realized this, I went to my computer and started typing. My intention was to write down all that happened and what came out was the list. Each item was a memory and a thousand stories. With every line, I recalled a moment, planned or unplanned, that had transported me. It was the sum of all these parts that reminded me of all that I had accomplished and all that I have left to do.

I shared the list with my parents and a few friends. When at the end of that summer, I packed up my car and moved halfway across the country, my mom presented the list to me in a frame. Again at my wedding, my older sister read the list in lieu of a speech. Today, as I cleaned my office to prepare for my parents to stay here after the baby is born, I found the framed copy. And again, I am reminded.   

In the past year I...
July 5, 2004- July 5, 2005

Traveled to another country alone
Lived in Australia
Learned another culture
Traveled the eastern Australian coast
Met amazing friends
Fell in love
Snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef
Held a koala
Hugged a kangaroo
Ate kangaroo
Danced on a fire bar
Chilled in an ice bar
Traveled to New Zealand
Went bungee jumping
Went white water rafting
Dove out of an airplane
Rode in a jet boat
Hiked up a glacier
Fell through ice
Conquered a fear
Flew in a helicopter
Climbed an iceberg
Tried absinthe
Went on a road trip
Played with dolphins
Stayed in a hostel
Learned to surf
Flew in 30 planes
Saw an opera in Sydney
Saw the Red Sox win the World Series
Traveled to Minnesota
Traveled to Wisconsin
Celebrated with a Valentine
Tried sushi
Lost a passport
Almost lost a loved one
Walked all night for Relay for Life
Did an internship
Wrote my thesis
Decided to move
Graduated college
Turned 22 

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