This Friday –May 11th — I will turn sixty. I’ve been a little preoccupied with that fact for a while. For a whole bunch of reasons. Not the least of which is my own mortality. I think, like most people do, that I fear dying mostly because I fear I haven’t lived.
So that got me thinking some more: what has my life, to this point, been?
Have I danced? Have I lived with gratitude? Have I embraced every moment of the life I was given as if it were my last?
Yes. And, No.
In sixty years I’ve done a lot. To celebrate this personal milestone, rather than wish it weren’t happening, I’m going to create a list of sixty things, memories, accomplishments from my life.
Here goes. In no particular order.
- When I was fourteen I attended my first real play. With two of my cousins — Deborah and Susie. Our Uncle Bing was a foot soldier for Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the Shaw Theater in Niagara on the Lake. Thus began my love of live theater.
- At sixteen I travelled by train from my home in Manitoba to NOTL to go live with my grandparents.
- My dad ‘teaching’ my sister and I how to do the dishes properly — at least once a month. He’d hear us bickering — which was on purpose — and come in to find out what the problem was. Then, he’d take over — “let me show you how this should be done”. We’d just stand back and let him do our job. Thing is, the lesson stuck.
- Going for a ride in my boyfriend’s best friend’s Mustang. We would cruise up and down the streets listening to Aerosmith while our respective others were cheating together on us.
- Cruising down Portage Ave. with a different boyfriend listening to T-Rex sing Bang a Gong as loud as we possibly could.
- The first live concert I ever attended was BTO — fronted by Bob Seger. I will never forget him singing Turn the Page. BTO? Barely recall them.
- The first time I kissed a boy. His name was Charlie. We didn’t have a clue. But we learned!
- Roller skating with my aunt Val — who is only 9 months older than me. I would walk in to St. Catharines from NOTL to meet her and we’d go to the rollerdrome not far from my Aunt Sheryl’s house. I was never very good at it, but boy did we have fun.
- Falling in love with The Bay City Rollers and wearing everything plaid.
To be continued. . .
- At eighteen, flying for the first time, by myself. I went to Calgary to visit my then boyfriend.
- Having the courage to be rescued from an abusive relationship by three girls I did not know. One of them would become my best friend. We would live together for four years and attend each other’s weddings.
- Ate smelts. My grandfather — Grampa Jack — took me to the annual smelt fry in NOTL. They were delicious! I’ve never had them again, but it is a fond memory. Doing this small thing started me on a path of not being afraid to try new things.
- Meeting Tim Larson, a cute red-headed bus driver in Edmonton. He used to come in to the 7-11 where I worked nights and bug the hell out of me and my co-worker. I was his second choice for a date, but lucky for him, I said yes! LOL.
- Giving birth to a beautiful little red-headed boy. I had fantasized about a blonde haired baby, but when I saw that gleaming copper. . . Love was all she wrote.
- Finding out after years of feeling like a failure because I had not formally graduated high school, that I actually had — and that I had waaay more credits than I needed for a full diploma. When I think about that now, I just shake my head.
- Enrolling in University. Majoring in English Literature. I LOVED going to classes and only wish that I’d had the same determination to finish that I did to start. I keep telling myself that one day I will.
- Working as a Census Coordinator for Statistics Canada. It was a huge job, with tons of responsibility. I learned so much doing this job. It made me proud.
- Winning the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize in 1996 for my essay A Place to Call Home. It took a long time for me to realize how important this really was.
- Skydiving. My best friend, Sandi, talked me into it. I was scared to death, but I did it. We had about 4 hours of ‘jump school,’ then they took us up in a little twin engine plane and forced us out. Literally. BY OURSELVES. Another reckless adventure that I’m lucky to have survived. I’m glad I did it, but I would never recommend anyone do it the way we did. To this day I can still recall that feeling of being snapped upward when my chute opened.
- Having my first piece of writing published in a national magazine. And cashing the fat cheque that followed.
- Writing an essay on the motif of stairways in The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje. It was my course final, and it was brilliant. If I say so myself.
I wanted to continue on the numbering from day to day, but for some reason WordPress does not allow that feature. So that brings the total of memories/accomplishments to 22 thus far. Until tomorrow. . .