28 Nov 2015 End of the Year, Wrap-Up
Very few things have permanency in this world.
I’ve reflected on that thought throughout this entire year. Events, possessions, moments, life – they all eventually come to an end. 2015 has come, and will soon be gone. Moments and experiences have come and gone. People have come and gone. But relationships, memories and emotions have the ability to reside within ourselves, stored safely in the recesses of our minds. Today, I am thankful to be able to share with you some of the memories I have stored away from 2015.
This past year, I am grateful to have had the ability to experience many moments that have helped to shape my character. The biggest life-changing experience occurred at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Surrounded by special needs athletes from 165 different countries, I was in awe over the heart and love that filled the stadium during the Special Olympics ceremonies. Seeing the world through the eyes of these special athletes gave me a new perspective of the world. Each participant was filled with joy and wonder, and the environment was abounding with acceptance and support for fellow athletes, no matter the level of ability, culture or background. If only the spirit that I witnessed in those moments were reflected in the real world we live in.
Like the seasons that passed throughout this year, I witnessed many examples of how life progresses – beginning, middle and end. As I watched the musical FUNHOME, I was immersed in the story of a life at three ages, igniting the Broadway stage. I reminisce of driving through the streets of Napa Valley to attend a dear friend’s birthday party, if only for an hour. I celebrate that it has been 10 years since the debut of my one-man show DON’T CALL ME WALTER! and I observed the strength and longevity of my 101 year old grandmother blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Although I knew these moments would be fleeting, I made sure to capture the feelings and emotions that each moment carried.
Some of my most memorable experiences from this past year were observed from within an audience. I witnessed the inspiring stories and achievements of athletes at the ESPY Awards in L.A.’s Nokia Theatre, including the moving speech of Caitlyn Jenner. I was filled with joy hearing Idina Menzel sing songs that I love in downtown Phoenix. I looked in delight at some of the historical artifacts contained in the pop-up exhibition celebrating the 40th Anniversary of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in New York City. And although I was not present with him in this particular audience, I could feel the glee of my father meeting NFL legends at the NFL Honors gala during the Super Bowl festivities, and am so grateful that he was able to have that experience.
Of course, the sum of last year is made up of more than just events and parties. Some of the simplest moments bring a smile to my face when I think back on them. Like using my newly-received TSA Pre-Check status, using UBER for the first time, standing in a boat and watching dolphins swim around me, or even finally finding a contemporary Bill Murray movie (ST. VINCENT) or Maroon 5 song (‘Sugar’) that I like. Funny and random moments include seeing a clothing item I had donated in a Goodwill window display, and helping a customer get out of a pair of pants that she had tried on with a defective zipper. Working on the development of an online docu-series, touring a group of international girls along Melrose Avenue, and attending my first Dapper Days at Disneyland were among the rewarding endeavors that I am also grateful for from this past year.
2015 has also met with some less desirable moments. But when looked at with a positive perspective, I can now say that I was happy to see the ending of a broken air conditioner during the summer, I was fortunate to come out scratch-free from a rear-end collision, I was gratified to arrive at the front of a line after a four-hour wait for an exclusive sale, and I was pleased to hear my name released from jury duty. Also, being able to say that I’m “debt-free” is a great feeling.
In looking back on 2015, I am closing a chapter in my life. I am grateful for this past year and am looking forward to 2016. As I write this, I wonder what my wrap-up will look like a year from now. I wonder what news I will be sharing in twelve months. Although I’m not certain about what is to come, I’m certain that the Lord has me right where he wants me. Thus, the present moment is where I shall be.