You know what’s funny? I have a gratitude practice that I do almost every day that I didn’t even realize was a gratitude practice until I thought about writing this post.
If you’re on Facebook (I love how I’m saying that like Facebook is some new website), you’re probably (definitely) familiar with the “On This Day” feature. I look at it every day (and Timehop when I remember) to see a compilation of my posts from that day dating back to when I started my account.
Sometimes some of the posts are cringeworthy. Case in point: remember when the status update was formatted to say “Sydney is…” and then you’d fill in the blank? Some of those updates from back then are hilariously vague.
What I didn’t realize, formally, is that every time I look at that, I’m usually happy to see some memories I forgot about, which gives me a chance to think of how much life has changed since then, and be grateful for some of the ridiculous adventures I’ve been on.
So for today’s prompt, I wanted to reflect on some of the key highlights for November 2nd over the course of my time on Facebook.
2008: I had just attended the PRSSA National Conference in Detroit with my fellow USF Bulls and I met Penelope Trunk for the first time. After I saw her speak about mentors, I bought her book from the table outside of the convention hall, marched up to her and asked if she’d be my mentor. And she said yes. And shortly thereafter, my whole world changed. Penelope helped me clean up this blog a bit, find some direction, invited me to start contributing to Brazen Careerist, helped me write a resume that didn’t suck, and recommended that I go to SXSW in 2009. The rest, as they say, is history.
I am grateful for that experience. And when I look back and think about it, this is one of several instances where I just went for it and had no fear. Usually when that happens, amazing things follow. And when I’m in the throes of adulting and get disconnected from myself because I get caught up in all the other stuff, memories like that bring me back down to earth and remind me I’ve got guts.
2011: Barry and I were in Colorado and Utah, on our way out to southern California, chasing sunshine and skydiving dreams. The top image is from somewhere in Utah, and I just remember being FLOORED by the change of landscape. Growing up in Kansas, then moving to Florida, then Chicago, then Austin, then back to Chicago, I hadn’t really seen a ton of mountains. So to drive through Colorado, Utah, and into Nevada in one day was like sensory overload.
When I think about this time of my life, I remember how I got the job in California. I marched up to the owner of the DZ, who was in Illinois coaching a skydiving team, and told him I’d like to do his marketing for the winter. When he said they only hire full-time employees, and that we’d have to live in California year-round if we wanted to work there, I was like OH SHUCKS SOCAL? OKAY.
I am grateful for the experiences we had in the skydiving industry, as most were overwhelmingly positive.
2015: Between 2011 and 2015, a lot happened. Lots of highs, and a TON of really really deep lows. At the end of October, I stood up for myself in a way that ended a friendship/partnership. The details don’t matter, but I needed to get the hell out of town. After that phone call, I called this gorgeous soul, Jen, and asked her what she was doing in about 12-18 hours. And off to Portland we went.
We finally got to do the drive all the way through California up to Oregon and it was fantastic. We didn’t take the scenic route up the 1, because we were on a mission to get to Oregon before the sun came up. We drove straight through and shacked up with Jen and her adorable dogs and reconnected after five years of not seeing each other. It was exactly what I needed to start a new chapter.
I am grateful for Jen’s hospitality, and grateful for the memories we made in her kitchen, as well as up in Portland with some other friends.
2016: Today I’m thankful for everything I’ve learned in the past year (an entirely separate post). Grateful for the intuition to take it easy on myself and let old wounds heal and work through them.
When you think back a year, three years, five years – what were you doing? How have you grown?