In middle school or thereabouts, I began writing down “Dates to Remember,” which were dates when important events happened in my life, starting with my birth. About a week ago, I read through these dates, which now cover over 9 lined pages.
Two things struck me as I read. One was the type of events I thought important to remember. The other was how long ago many of these events occurred, and how much has happened since. Most of the dates cover 8th grade through college. There are quite a few from when I was in Japan. Many of the events not covered are in my diary entries, but important weddings, births, and deaths are listed, as are romantic milestones.
For example, I included when my pet hamster died and the first school dance I went to. I have the date we picked up our dog, and the day we put our dog to sleep. Lots of firsts, too. Besides the first dance, there’s my first pep rally, first marching band competition, and first rejection letter from a girl (which I still have). I have the date Dan Jansen finally won his gold medal, and the date Steven Spielberg finally won his Oscar (which I watched on my Game Gear TV from bed). My first girlfriend, first date, first job, and first kiss are included, as are the day I learned how to tie a tie and the first time I swallowed a pill.
Some dates turned out not to be as significant as I thought they would be. Meetings with people I never saw again, dates with girls I never dated again, important parties that are no longer important. And there are some dates that happened later than expected, and some that have yet to happen.
And yet, as I looked through these dates, I felt overwhelmingly content. No matter the reason for remembering them, they are all times when something significant happened. They remind me of how much has happened in my life, and how much I have to look forward to.