Okay. I'm so sick of everyone talking about everything that's gone down in the last decade. Here's a quick list from Joe Scarborough on Huffington Post: "The ugliness of Impeachment in 1999 soon bled into the divisions of the 2000 election, the shock of 9/11, the "good war" in Afghanistan, the "bad war" in Iraq, rising deficits, record debts, a decaying industrial base, reckless Republican budgets, mindless consumer spending, massive trade deficits, a rising China, a falling dollar, the shame of Katrina, the enabling of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the empowering of Wall Street, the loosening of credit, the awarding of too many mortgages, the flow of too many dollars, credit default swaps, an economic death spiral, a reckless bailout bill, Bernie Madoff, the collapse of GM, Too Big to Fail, a Stimulus bill Washington forgot to read, reckless Democratic budgets, reckless health care bills, reckless Republican demagogues, imaginary death panels, the resurrection of Mediscare, skyrocketing unemployment rates, a surge in Afghanistan, record bonuses for CEOs, record poverty levels, and a country where elites in Washington and on Wall Street lived in a parallel universe from the rest of us."
Well thanks for the that list. Oy. Why dwell on the bad? Can't people find anything uplifting to write?
When I look back, I absolutely remember where I was and how I felt during some, if not all, of those terrible incidents. They surely scarred Americans and the world. There are also so many more horrid events that are not on the list. But as I said in my toast on New Years Eve: "To all of my wonderful family and friends, don't worry where you're going, don't worry where you've been. Live in the moment and raise a glass to 2010." Ultimately this is a ridiculous and Utopian statement. If I didn't worry about the future in the last ten years I wouldn't be where I am today. In the same vein, I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for the many trials and lessons I encountered that defined who I am. But I had a good point: live in the moment. I believe everything happens for a reason, no matter the outcome. Yes, all of these terrible things Scarborough (and many a blogger/journalist alike touts about) happened in the last decade. I'm not denying the horrors that are now filling history books. I simply wish there was a happy list out there. Granted I have merely skimmed some websites at a dim effort to find some sunshine.
I just like to think about the last ten years in a glass half full aspect. Perhaps I'm just blessed, perhaps I'm a romantic. But whatever the reason, this morning I want to list some events that happened in my life in the last ten years that puts a smile on my face - keeping in mind I've jumped some hurdles and have had to dry many tears along the way.
In the last ten years I graduated high school and college, grew in my faith, matured (somewhat), nurtured friendships, and made big life decisions. I played sports, learned new instruments, and spoke and performed in front of packed venues. I rocked out to 4 *NSYNC, 5 Rascal Flatts, and 2 Dave Matthews Band concerts - with countless concerts in between. I opened my eyes to new and controversial concepts; sometimes changing and sometimes reaffirming beliefs. I befriended some of my closest friends who no doubt will be in my life for at least the next ten years, if not indefinitely. I went from being one of about 20 cousins to one of 42 cousins - just on my mom's side. I went to at least 7 weddings (haha I can't remember them all!). I saw my first Steelers game and dated my first boyfriend. I voted. I competed in a (sprint) triathlon. I developed two signature dance moves. I went to 3 proms and 5 formals. I gained weight during the best summer of my life in D.C. and lost it all my senior year with the support of my family, sorority sisters, and 100 calorie packs. I turned 21 and started the craziest and most memorable memories that leave me shaking my head, clutching my side, and apologizing to my liver. I read all of the Harry Potter books. I've been to many live sporting events, both professional and collegiate. I spray tanned religiously and felt cool. I got a job out of college in my favorite city. I danced on bars, tables, and chairs. I shopped online, got an iPod, learned how to d.j., and started a blog. I have been through 7 cell phones. I became a regular at Recessions and the Pour House. I was a server at Bob Evans, a beer wench at a golf course, a receptionist at the Clements Center, an intern, and an assistant. I was accepted to my dream school for a graduate degree. I met Barack Obama and Dick Durbin, when Obama was a freshman senator...and then saw his Inauguration Ceremony, marking one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I went to two balls for free, too! I traveled to numerous cities in the country and a couple in Canada - sometimes on a whim. I could continue but I'll stop there.
It's hard to believe that I was a freshman in high school ten years ago...and I'll be in my thirties in the next ten. Time flies, doesn't it?
I want to throw in a disclaimer: I'm not bragging. Like I said, the last ten years were not easy and there are things I have said and done of which I am not proud. Family members passed away and personal trials placed pot holes in my path to becoming who I am. I over-drafted my bank account too. I try to not have regrets and think of these things as instances that increased my strength as a person. Sure I barely listed anything that happened on a national scale. I bet most of you think I'm a very selfish person after reading my list. Which brings me to how I'm looking forward to the next ten years.
In the next ten years I want to do something more with my life. Who knows what that will entail. I want to volunteer more, graduate, get a fantastic job, and obtain (and use) a passport. But really, who can accurately predict what will happen personally, in the country, and the world that will either aid or impede my goals? All I do know is that I'm excited to find out and I have faith that everything will work out.
And, in an effort to live up to my toast, in the moment I am sitting in my pajamas (new ones from Christmas - they have kitties on them. My mom said I have enough penguin p.j.'s and said I'm the "cat's pajamas" so yay!). I am on my comfy bed watching ESPN. I am also wearing glasses, greasy hair, and a faint smile.
How do you look back and how do you look forward? Do you live in the moment?