About a year ago, I reached one of the lowest points in my life in recent years. I’m not keen to go into detail; I’ll only say things had long been sliding downwards, but I did not want to see it. In the end I was crushed. Although the initial event should not have been that painful, some people whom I thought would care, ending up showing me how little they did. That poured a truckload of salt onto the wound, and forced me to change my perception of quite a number of things.
For months, I dug myself deeper into the hole. Every morning was a battle just to get out of bed. After I drove to work, I would end up sitting in the parking lot because I couldn’t find the strength to get out of the car. Many, many times I had to fight off the urge to call right then and there, and take a sick day.
My trips to the liquor store increased exponentially. That was the bulk of my evenings; pop open a cold one (usually two) in front of a random TV show and wait for the buzz to kick in. This was coming from a person that only drank in social situations. I was starting to scare my friends and family. In my mind, I did it because I could, because I wanted to, and because I had stopped caring.
One night I was popping back my usual two drinks and (debating if I needed more) when I realized time had flown. 2012 was already 1/4 over: What had I accomplished this year? Besides working and “wanting to drink myself into oblivion”, I had nothing.
I grew angry. Angry at all those that had wasted all my time before showing their true colours. Angry because I had sacrificed a part of myself in the process. While I don’t recommend anyone make profound decisions when they are angry, this time it worked in my favour. There was a light-bulb: from now on, I was going to do everything I had ever wanted to do. From that I idea, my 2012 Bucket List evolved. I was not going to write down far-reaching ideas like Skydiving, traveling to Europe, etc (those would go on another Bucket List). Instead, I wanted this to be a collection of things I would accomplish before 2012 was over.
I packed my calendar with as many activities as I could, all with things I never got around to accomplishing (and could never figure out why). In a two to three week span I rarely spent an evening at home. I started to scare my parents for entirely different (but hopefully more positive) reasons. I accomplished many memorable milestones:
- Attended both a Lions’ and Whitecaps game, and I still can’t figure out which team has crazier fans.
- Gave myself a permi-tan cycling around the Stanley Park Seawall. Multiple times.
- Nearly killed myself trying to hike up the Grouse Grind, but I made it.
- Hopped into my car one morning and went on a road-trip by myself, on Mother’s Day weekend. (Sorry Mom).
- Found myself sitting beside my car at the side of the highway for almost an hour, just soaking in the pure beauty of snow-capped mountains and most gorgeous lush green valley below.
- Entered the Humorist Contest (and we all know how that turned out).
The most beautiful thing I discovered, was just how many people still cared. Friends that knew I was having a rough time (I’m a terrible actress) and periodically took the time to send a quick note and check up on how I was doing. In hindsight I was probably too cross to give them the proper thanks they deserved, but in all earnest I appreciated every single bit of it. That is what is pulling me through.
In the words of Conan,
“But then something spectacular happened. Fogbound, with no compass, and adrift, I started trying things. I grew a strange, cinnamon beard. I dove into the world of social media and started tweeting my comedy. I threw together a national tour. I played the guitar, I did stand‐up, wore a skin-tight blue leather suit, recorded an album, made a documentary, and frightened my friends and family...I did a lot of silly, unconventional, spontaneous and seemingly irrational things and guess what - with the exception of the blue leather suit, it was the most satisfying and fascinating year of my professional life.”
With the exception of the cinnamon beard, this has also turned out to be one of the most amazing (half) years of my life. I have had more fun accomplishing things on my bucket list (and living through those experiences) in comparison to the past six years. If I am still alive when the sun rises on December 22, 2012, I think I will adopt the Bucket List philosophy on a more permanent basis.