This year has been so exceptionally full I can hardly believe it’s all true. I can’t believe we managed to do it all. I can’t believe one year could hold so much.
In January, in the dead cold of winter, my brother and I made the funnest, fullest, best cross-Canada road trip ever, with a housecat. A photo essay on Canada’s big roadside things spontaneously happened, and we sort of accidentally followed the Olympic flame -we saw it on the run four times. We laced up skates at random outdoor rinks all the way across, to pass the puck hundreds of meters in Sudbury, glide around at night in Portage la Prairie’s magic festival of lights, and play pickup in Whistler. We played pond hockey on Lake Louise! We visited Drumheller and Moose Jaw’s tunnels.
The two of us (plus the cat) spent February living in a camper in Whistler and volunteering at the Athlete’s Village and Olympic park. We partied and worked and watched dozens of events live including the opening ceremonies rehearsal, and celebrated the Men’s Gold with hundreds of friends and Blue Rodeo in Whistler’s Square. I hugged Jon Montgomery and got mistaken for Julia Mancuso (because if I were a model and A list downhiller, I’d definitely be standing in line to buy red mittens the day after winning a silver medal. But thanks anyways, guy in line with me whom I could not convince I wasn’t her. Wrong hair colour, even).
I squeezed in a bit of work, caught UFC 113 live in Montreal, rode the train across Canada, visited Saltspring, bought a house with Mogi and a farm in Nova Scotia, went vegetarian, hitchhiked a satisfying amount, lived most of the winter in a camper, learned to skate ski, renovated a barn, got my first grey hair, joined the local volunteer fire dept and library, took First Responder and Bellyfit instructor training, did a workshop about finding life purpose, read some 60 books, fell in love a couple times, started running my truck on biodiesel, built a respectable sized garden, worked and danced at Shambhala, went camping and hiking a bunch, and slept the night of my birthday on a raft in the middle of a lake.
Oh yeah, we also went to Iceland for a month. We walked across lava fields and glaciers and fjords and fault lines and steam fissures; we crawled in caves and slept under northern lights and on mountaintops; got beaten by sun and wind and rain and slept outside 21 nights straight. Almost every day held something I never thought I’d do or see.
There are many big checkmarks off the life list in this year, many firsts, and many not minor accomplishments, too. The garden. The electrical in the barn. Many exclamation marks in 2010. There was a lot of hard loss and sadness this year, and too many funerals. Two friends and two pets died this year, two in unexpected tragedies.
Iceland was the trip of a lifetime. Oh wait, so was our Canada road trip. And the Olympics- that was an experience of a lifetime too.
What I did in this one year – I would feel lucky to have done so much in a whole life. Incidentally, if I were to die any day, I wouldn’t be sorry. I’ve done enough to be proud of and the width and breadth I’ve already fit into the first third or so of my life is remarkable. I am so grateful for the chance that has allowed me all of it.
So to finish off this epic year of extraordinary proportions appropriately, I’m flying to Cuba on New Years Eve. Hell yeah.
How the hell will next year compete? I don’t know, but I’m starting 2011 in the air.