June 12, 2012 by Amie M
Yep, I’m 25 today. I know 25 isn’t old, but a lot of things have happened in my life these past couple years that have made me a better person. I’m thankful for these and many other things, events, people.
1. My family, as a unit. The crazy, loud, loving, caring, tell-you straight-up how they feel people. And that’s just my immediate family. The unconditional love, unwavering support and belief that anything is possible that I always feel coming from them helps me build my life and conquer mountains.
2. My Dad. The steady, kooky, hilarious, helpful, handy, intelligent, calm man. He knows what to say when you skin your knee, drop a hammer on your toe, your sister hit you, you hit her back, Mom and you got in a fight, you failed an exam, or the zombie apocalypse is upon us. You know, the important things in life. Dad is the first to cry during any emotional speech, movie or life moment. He is the first to laugh at the ridiculous things, and let them roll off his shoulder. He lets his emotions show, and is proud of it. He has raised two girls into two women, and he wears his grey hair as a badge of honour.
3. My Mom. She is one of my best friends. As I’ve gotten past those horrible teenage years, we have become closer, and I’ve understood why she was stressed a lot when we were little. Her and Dad were working really hard at making things better for us than they had when they were young. Now she is an ear, a shoulder, two arms, and one huge heart that wants to show my sister and I how much we mean to her and Dad.
4. My sister. My other best friend. We fight, a lot. We scream, yell, cry and blame each other. Hang up. Call right back and say I’m sorry. I’ve learned a lot from her: how to not get caught (she always got caught), what boys are the keepers, what boys will make Mom and Dad mad, which ones will make you cry so you should make them cry first, how no matter what family comes first, your dreams are important, and that love and patience can really win through life’s difficulties. We are sisters by chance, friends by choice.
4. Natalie. Have this smiling, giddy, bouncy, happy girl in my life has made me more conscious of some of my life decisions. I’m wearing a helmet now every time I ride my bike. I’ve re-certified my first aid training. I’m on the lookout for some cool volunteer opportunities in my community. I am working harder at being a role model now for her, so that when she starts asking me questions about life, school, her mom, and boys (or girls), I can be someone my sister is comfortable with her confiding in.
5. My friends now. I’ve managed to surround myself with wonderfully, beautifully souled people. They have become my family. They know when I need them, their baking, or a beer and/or bourbon.
6. My furballs. Audrey is a wonderful girl. She is patient and trusting and full of love for me and Paul. She gets excited when we come home, and loves to see us off for the day. Charlie is on his way to showing his affection, and understanding that we are his family now.
7. My larger, extended family. Both sides totalling over 50 people. My 13 cousins, all with wonderful things happening to them. We are all away from home or becoming more independent of the herd. Our parents are all so proud of us, and all the rest. We are becoming successsful young adults who are contributing to our greater communities. I love all of you.
8. My grandparents. Mom’s Mom and Dad have been there for my family many times. They have been the constant rock for all of us. Grandpa with his jokes and memories of the good old days. Gramma with her kindness, cookies, knit wonderfuls, and enthusiasm for her grandkids’ lives. Now it’s our turn to give back to them.
9. Paul’s family. They live a little closer than mine do, and so we see them a little more often. And they have been very welcoming of me into their lives.
10. Mickey and Cocoa. They are getting on in their years. We figure they are 15 years old. The age is showing in Mickey, and Cocoa still acts like she’s a 2 year old. But they have been there in my life for all of the big moments. And when I go back to Mom and Dad’s they are always there, full of kisses, cuddles and purrs for me. I like to think it’s because they miss me, and not because I let them sleep in my bed.
11. My job. In a horrible employment climate for those who are fresh out of university, I managed to get a reasonable job, somewhat in my field of study and interest. I enjoy the organization and what they do, and I’m starting to like my position a little more. Having some financial security feels amazing.
12. My friends, past. You were all there through some rough times, for all of us. And though we have drifted through the years, the memories, and the importance we had in those life moments will always be a part of us as we continue to grow into the people we were meant to be.
13. My parents’ friends. They were my role models, and still are. Hard-working, loving, strong, kind, charitable, wonderful people, who always had time for my sister and I. They helped us realize how important friends are in extending your family.
14. The city I live in. It’s an old, modern, liberal, green, happy city with all the small town charm a hamlet girl like me can enjoy.
15. Skype. It got Paul and I through a really rough year of him living in Japan. We talked twice a day, everyday. And if we couldn’t have video chatted, I don’t know how we could have gotten through the stresses of a long-distance relationship. And now it’s how I can see the smiling, bubbly face of my niece. It’s how Cocoa talks to me by nudging the tablet on Dad’s lap and accidentally hanging up on me because she gets so excited.
16. My academic career. I’m calling it a career because it has gone onto seven years now. Seven! I have become a rounded, edumacated, person who can critically challenge what media, my government and my world tells me. My inquisitive mind now has the skills to look up my questions and spread the knowledge. My undergrad helped shape my independence. My graduate years have helped me shape me. I am more comfortable in who I am and how I got here than ever before.
17. My creative talents. My baking, cooking, sewing, knitting and general creativity allows me to have an outlet. I can wash away the stresses of the day by throwing something together, or following a recipe or pattern. I can have little pieces of myself in my life, or let the people in my life take little pieces of me.
18. The great adventures I’ve had. I’ve been to Japan, twice. Both for very different reasons, and for very different trips. They both changed my view of the world. Going to Brazil, working in Nevada, a quick trip to Cuba, New York City, Quebec City, San Francisco and LA, family road trip to Banff and accidentally going to BC. And that wonderful, biggest adventure yet in Peru.
19. My health. I’m 25, and in the best shape I have ever been. I used to not be as healthy. Many people struggle with their weight, and when I told people that I used to as well, they just laughed and said what does a skinny girl have to worry about? Well, I had to worry about heart issues, endurance, muscle and joint pain, and breaking bones. I used to weight 98 lbs in high school, and while some girls wish they could be the same as they were then, I don’t. I am 130 lbs now, and I love it! I have more energy, I do more, I eat healthier, and I try to be as heart healthy as I can. I climbed three mountains! I bike up a dreaded hill everyday! I like where I am, and it can only improve.
20. 4-H. It gave me wonderful skills, thrills, and places to go, and a person to become. I was a member for 10 years. I loved it. I loved it even more when I was crazy involved. I went to every conference, workshop, on every trip or opportunity I could. I helped lead the younger members, I was a leader in my community, club and country. And I want to give back.
21. The country I live in. It is a wonderful place with liberal ideals (in most regions), happy, generous, thoughtful people who have all been blessed to have been born here or to make it here.
22. The small town I grew up in. Only 100 people, but I knew every one of them, and they knew me. You could go for a walk to get the mail and have someone offer to give you a ride. You can leave the back door unlocked and not worry. If someone’s dog gets out, you bring them in and give them a call. And you have Meet-Your-Neighbour Dances.
23. The simplicity of my life. It’s just me, Paul, and the furrballs. We are a happy little family. We work hard at work, come home and relax hard. We have our hobbies separate, and we make time to do things together. We spend time with friends and family. We have a simple life where we pay our bills, save a little and dream of having more. But I want to take time to appreciate the little things and the minor stresses we are currently living with. This will go away, and we will miss it.
24. To go along with our simple life, the little moments that make it worth it. Like seeing strawberries are on sale and having them in my cranberry soda for a week. Little Charlie naps so Audrey can relax. Going for bike rides to get ice cream, and sitting along the river talking about forever and talking about sweet time. Natty kisses. Cocoa purrs. Mom and Dad making out on the couch and almost getting caught by Auntie Barb. How Grandpa lights up when Gramma walks in the room. Getting mail. Sending surprise packages. Handwritten notes. Heartfelt scavenger hunts.
25. Paul. You thought I would forget about him? Never! He is amazing, kind, patient, rambunctious, hyper, calm, soothing, creative, logical, and wonderful. And best of all, he is mine.
Twenty-five years is a quarter century, and it has been full of life: life’s wonders and life’s trials. I think I’m ready to start thinking about 30, and where I’m going to be, who I’m going to be. Or I will just leave it to chance and whim and see how my next few years of events will shape me.