So I had a friend once who likes to reflect at the end of each year with a list of 10 highlights. It’s hard to go back 12 months to remember all those highlights. So here they are, in no particular order, my 2011 top ten highlights.
1. Getting fired. With the passing of Steve Jobs, his 2005 commencement speech from Stanford has resounded through the air waves. In particular, his comments on getting fired from Apple – his signature company, reflect how I now reflect on my own experience getting fired for the first time. He said getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened to him; [that] the heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” And he added, “I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.” I hated my job day in and day out. It was a blessing in disguise and definitely makes the top ten life-changing experiences of 2011.
2. Hiking with Deana. Having faced unemployment for a while, I was lucky to have a partner in crime. Together we’d frequent coffee shops, go on bike rides, and hike various mountains in the great NW region of Oregon. Hikes were our relief valve, our time to reflect, to complain, to assess, to be free in nothing but the shade of forests. It was glorious.
3. Biking a century. Last year it was the Portland marathon, this year it was the Portland Century. 100 miles by bike was easier than 26.2 miles by foot – but it was an effort nonetheless.
4. Surprising my mother for her birthday. It was something I have longed to do for a while now and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better surprise. I love my mother and I wish I could be there for every significant day in her life. I feel lucky I could experience this one.
5. Camping at Crater Lake. My boyfriend and I packed up one weekend late in the season and headed to Diamond lake, just north of Crater Lake. It was a peaceful time of reading books by headlamp, waking up to morning coffee and a crackling fire getting started, walking 11 miles around the lake (and feeling the pain afterwards) and escaping the need to check my phone every few hours.
6. Nine glorious days in Hawaii. We found a beautiful near private beach to frequent every day, we hiked the grand canyon of the Pacific, we ate beautiful food, paddle boarded and sat out in the amazing warmth of the sun. It was euphoric.
7. Seeing a dear high school friend on the day of her wedding in Vermont.
8. Interning at Mercy Corps Action Center. The people were amazing and I felt a renewed purpose.
9. Meeting a dear lady named Ann who turned 93 this year. I have helped watch her when her daughter is out of town and I am so grateful to have a new amazing friend.
10. To feel as though the first time I have found a place to call home. My friends have become integral to my life here and are the sole reason I would find it hard to ever depart this town. From happy hours to patio BBQs, themed parties, intimate dinners, hikes, bikes, coffees and more – they are my support, my conscious, my family.
What would your list look like?