Going skydiving.

Of all the items on my Memory List, this one was, hands-down, the most anxiety inducing. I’m extremely grateful that I don’t battle anxiety often; it’s a very rare occurrence that it comes to hang out with me. But in the four days between booking the adventure and actually making the jump, my Fitbit informed me of a 10% increase in my resting heart rate. I found it near impossible to concentrate on things. My sleep was broken and in short increments.

My body was not happy to be going skydiving. Why the heck was I doing it???

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Going on a first date.

This item on my Memory List is one that I added after being nudged to do so by a friend. For the vast majority of time since I left my marriage last June, dating had been the farthest thing from my mind. I was comfortable staying in my own little bubble, and leaning heavily on the fact that I was taking the necessary time for myself to get to know myself better. I convinced myself I wasn’t ready to get back out there.

To be honest, I felt quite cynical about relationships. I worked hard at my marriage, but it wasn’t enough. I was terrified of falling right back into my destructive patterns, subconsciously or not, and being right back in a position I didn’t want to be in.

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Attending a Superbowl party.

Like many of the memories on my list, this one was severely threatened by the pandemic. And, honestly, up until an hour before kickoff, I didn’t have any plans for a Superbowl “party”, other than watching it with Toby on the couch.

I had received some news earlier in the day that weighed heavily on my heart. I didn’t feel like being social, so I was actually relieved that I hadn’t committed myself to any plans with others. I had accepted that this would be a memory I didn’t accomplish this year.

And then I got a text from my new friends in the condo unit upstairs, inviting me to watch the game with them. And, of course, Toby was invited, too.

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Taking a bath with a lit candle and music.

It’s been a tough week. It’s getting better, but, wow, the weight of this pandemic has been feeling heavier lately. I’ve been lonelier. I’m apparently on the verge of tears at all times. It’s more than just being sad. It’s deeper than that, but I hesitate to call it depression.

This pandemic has robbed me of enjoying touch, my primary love language. Hugs bring me to life, and even though I can still risk contracting or passing on COVID by fully embracing such an embrace, the threat of sickness deflates the moment for me. The hug or touch feels incomplete, and it doesn’t fulfill me with what I’m looking for.

Science validates my struggle, explained in this article. I’m frustrated that I can’t get what I want right now. I know I need to be patient, especially since the finish line appears to be within sight. But maybe, just maybe, I can find other ways to fill myself up.

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Getting a dress shirt, vest, and pants tailored.

Formal wear has always been an obstacle for me. I like the idea of dressing up, but I’ve never, ever felt comfortable doing it. It’s because I never, ever found fancy clothes that matched my expression.

For my entire life, I’ve lived in the comfortable space of androgyny. I feel exponentially more content donning clothes on the masculine side of the spectrum. But, the problem is that men’s clothing typically fits horribly over my very feminine, curvy body. Button-down shirts feel good over the shoulders, but my bust literally busts out at the chest, and that last button rarely has a shot of hanging on over my hips. Dress pants bunch and balloon at weird places. So, although I felt more comfortable in men’s garb, I didn’t really feel good wearing it.

That is, until now.

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Watching The Neverending Story again.

The Neverending Story was one of those movies that helped define my childhood, along with Labyrinth, Willow, and The Princess Bride. These stories encouraged my imagination to soar, and although my memory of the actual plots isn’t overly solid, the feelings I have when I think about them are much, much stronger.

Honestly, it’s all the soundtracks that linger in my head when I think about these movies. For those in my age group – the recently-turned-40 people – I bet you can hear the melodies now. The Neverending Storyeeeeeeee, da na na da na na na na na. Or maybe you can hear David Bowie’s voice singing Dance, dance magic dance. Oh, the 80s.

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Coloring using pencil crayons.

I remember participating in coloring contests as a kid. Crayola crayons were my go-to tools back then, outlining color sections darker and shading the respective inner sections as evenly as possible. Although I was never crowned a winner in one of those contests, I loved how colorful my pieces looked and how much I enjoyed the art of coloring.

I’ve told you before about how much I enjoy color, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that spending time coloring is an activity I’m drawn to. These days, pencil crayons are more my style, so I sharpened them and got to work.

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Goodbye, 2020

New Year’s Eve is a day that always sits on the fence. It’s a time to reflect on the past 12 months, and simultaneously look ahead to what the coming year might bring. I don’t think I have enough vocabulary or eloquence to adequately justify how challenging 2020 was.

The world has been in crisis mode, and we’ve all had to find ways to work through our personal challenges that have stemmed from the global pandemic. The sheer amount of communal grief is overwhelming.

On top of all that, 2020 was the year I decided to flip my personal life on its head. Thinking back to the promise of the last New Year’s Eve, I still find it hard to believe how much has changed in my world this year.

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Fostering a dog.

As a kid, I remember my family getting our first dog. Winston was perfect. He had the gentlest of temperaments, which, as a boxer, contradicted his gruff appearance. He was loyal, relaxed, and protective. Winston was my first dog, and I fell in love instantly.

The number of canines steadily increased over the years. Murphy was the first join Winston, and when she had her first litter, we kept Shortts (you know, like boxer shorts). I remember Oreo and Maggie, but my memory fails me in trying to recall the others. What I can’t forget is all the poop they left for me in the backyard.

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Going to the Florida Keys for a vacation.

Years ago, I went to Key Largo for a day trip from Miami. I went on a snorkeling tour with Ligeia, my ex-wife (ooph, that’s still weird for me to write), and my seasickness also decided to tag along. I ended up losing my lunch and chumming the waters. It wasn’t really a nice memory of being in the Florida Keys.

In creating my Memory List, I wanted to add a new chapter to how I remember the Keys, so I made sure to specify that I wanted to have a memory of actually going there for a vacation. A true vacation, where I could unwind and relax.

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