Despite my amazing charm and air of mystery, my life is not as fabulous as one might assume. I have a fairly mundane corporate job. I drive a 10-year-old car. I am married to a banker. I shop at Kohl’s. Yadda yadda yadda.
But whether by fortune, persistence or simple luck, I’ve had the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things in my thirty years. Today, for example, because of where I work and because I had the audacity to simply ask permission, I was allowed to witness two laproscopic gall bladder removals. I was right up in there beside the surgical table, not four feet from the incision sites, asking questions and making small talk with the team. It was pretty awesome and not nearly as gross as I’d feared (I swear). I didn’t even flinch when the surgeon poked open one of the removed gall bladders and let the brown bile ooze out to show me the inside of the organ–though I will never burst a sunny-side-up egg yolk again without a very unpleasant comparison popping into my head.
The experience got me thinking about all the other cool, out-of-the-ordinary stuff I’ve done. I’m not one to collect memories as if they are trinkets– I haven’t eaten at Denny’s in every state of the union or learned to speak three languages I might never actually use–but still, I’ve racked up a weird little list of achievements.
For your consideration, in no particular order:
- Witnessed a surgery firsthand
- Piloted a two-person aircraft
- Had my aura read by a psychic
- Had my future read by a Tarot Card reader
- Had my future read by a “sensitive”
- Rode in the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile
- Flown by myself (which is a big deal for some people and scarier than I’d anticipated)
- Walked the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland
- Shared a pint with my brother in England
- Done yoga on the beach in Mexico
- Snorkeled with schools of fish in a nature preserve
- Eaten sweetbreads
- Enjoyed a bottle of Dom Perignon with fresh oysters
- Ran a 5k, 8k and 10k
- Donated a gallon of blood over the course of a decade
- Gambled in Vegas
- Bet on animals at ahorse track and a dog track
- Stayed with a host family in a different state during a student exchange
- Attended a church ceremony where people talked in tongues and rolled on the floor “with the spirit”
- Studied at a school across the country
- Gone whitewater rafting (twice)
- Solo backpacked overnight
- Won a national journalism award
- Took an ill-advised Spring Break road trip to Seattle
- Been tattooed (thrice)
- Rode along with a police officer on the busiest drunk-driving night of the year
- Rode along with a police officer during a public (gay) sex sting at a local park (in broad daylight)
- Hosted a cable access TV talk show
I post this not to brag–I’m sure some who read this list will find it comparatively lacking–but to take a moment to respect the things I’ve done with my 30 years on the planet. Most of the time, it’s terrifyingly easy to convince myself that I’m nothing, going nowhere, important to no one; seeing this list makes me realize that even if I’m not moving mountains, I’m still doing something. Plus, there is still time to accomplish all the things that aren’t on this list : I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, nor sipped Italian wine in Italy. I’ve never witnessed the birth of a child or seen a tornado up close. I’ve never had a byline in a national publication. And so on and so forth.
But, even if I don’t check off all those things by the time I croak, I’m not worried about it. Because considering all the weird adventures I’ve already gotten into, it’s safe to say I will get into plenty more, even if they’re not the ones I’m hoping for or expecting.
God knows 9-year-old Heather never said, “I hope to help bust perps on a public gay sex police sting someday!”