Oh Facebook! How strange thou algorithms art. Some days you innocently log on to Facebook and while you wait for your coffee to percolate, you scroll, semi-distractedly, through the comings and goings of your friends and acquaintances. Most days it’s a nice experience, a thumbs up here, a thumbs up there, here a thumb, there a thumb, everywhere a thumb thumb. But some days, you log on and, like a childhood game of hide-and-seek, Facebook yells, “ready or not, here I come”, and you’re slapped upside the eyeball with an unsolicited “Facebook Memory”. Before you have time to frantically scroll away, for better or for worse, you find yourself being dragged down social media memory lane. Sometimes Facebook has encouraged me to “boost my popular post from seven years ago”, and it turns out to be my mother’s obituary. Or it reminds me that I’ve been friends with my ex-fiancé for 10 years, and maybe I’d like to send him a balloon emoji to mark the occasion. Oh thanks Facebook, ya big jerk! I think it’s only right that Mark Zuckerberg should pay for the ice cream and therapy that inevitably follow these oh so kind reminders.
But today, it wasn’t a punch-in-the-solar-plexus type of memory. Today, like a strange, yet encouraging stalker, Facebook let me know that it’s been 5 years since I pedaled my arse around the Emerald Isle. Which got me thinking about how much life has happened in the past 1,825 days. I played a little game with some friends today – I asked them, in shorthand, what are the highs and lows of your last 5 years?
After a nostalgic scroll through the photos on my phone, here are a few definitive moments from the past 5 years…I rode my dad’s bike around Ireland, made Murphy’s Law, cleared out my parents house, renovated a century home, smooched a couple of frogs and a couple of princes, traveled to Scotland, the Dominican Republic, Vegas, and San Francisco for weddings of dear friends, oh and Winnipeg – exotic right?! Made a short film called Towns End, did some film festival circuits, met new friends from Syria, became intimately acquainted with Sick Kids hospital, got bangs, grew out said bangs, heard the words “Ewing’s Sarcoma” for the first time, learned how resilient my beautiful niece really is, learned how brave her parents really are, quit my job, did some acting, walked the Camino, volunteered with the United Way, discovered panic attacks and vertigo, climbed a mountain, fell off my bike and broke my teeth, fell in love, got an Instant Pot – used it once, tried new ventures, succeeded at some, failed at others, laughed hysterically, sobbed uncontrollably, fell more in love with my family and friends than I ever thought possible, turned 40, experienced moments of sheer terror, utter grief, immense joy and unadulterated glee. And apparently took 10, 284 pictures of it all.
I don’t know who or what is out there, if it’s God, or the Universe or some kind of life force energy, but whatever it is, I often find myself whispering to it. Silent prayers of comfort and gratitude, and somehow, I understand that without me having to explain anything, it knows the secret longings of my heart. I remember when I was young I found myself in quiet, inner conversation with that energy and unprompted, I felt myself ask politely, like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel, “Please God, may I have an extraordinary life?” I didn’t mean to ask that, I don’t think I even knew what that meant. I think it was my soul asking on my behalf. It didn’t ask for easy, it didn’t ask for pain-free, it asked for extraordinary. And, my oh my, has it ever delivered.
If you, dear reader, are willing to share, I’d love to know how much life you’ve celebrated and survived these past five revolutions around the sun. Wishing you much love and life in the next five to come.