After thinking about this moment, I feel the best way to move forward is to acknowledge the most meaningful moments in the past decade of my life. These ten moments include times of sorrow, joy, confusion and clarity. The ones that are hyperlinked go to blog posts that describe these moments. It’s been an amazing decade:
10. The Alma Mater - In the past decade, I finished my undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and also completed my Master’s there. When I think about my experience, all the things the learned and all the people that I met, one thing stands out as representing what it means to have gone to Northwestern: The Northwestern University Alma Mater. This song captures the spirit of Northwestern University, which served me well for the past decade and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
9. The Return of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - First it was seeing Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at Comiskey Park. Then it was the albums, Magic and Working On A Dream. Along with Springsteen’s solo album and his Seeger Sessions work, this body of work represents the most important musical influence of my last decade. Above my desk there this a picture of Bruce walking into a stadium. It’s a reminder of the energy and life that music can bring and what it means to serve an audience.
8. Hope In Politics - The campaign and nomination of President Obama forever changed the way that I viewed politics and my life. I still believe in the system because I believe in the American people. Obama taught me that cynicism has no place in the world that is so full of hope and possibility. A lot has changed since his inauguration but what hasn’t changed is how that moment continues to inspire.
7. Losing My First Job - When I found out my contract wasn’t renewed from my first teaching job, I was devastated. It wasn’t the right place for me but I don’t know if I had the courage to leave on my own. Without this push, I wouldn’t have become a teaching assistant or ended up in the job I have now that I love. This was the beginning of a journey that started with me in pieces rebuilding myself into the man that I am proud to be now.
6. The Purple Reaction: On November 3rd, 2008 after months of consideration I started this blog. It started off as a blog about music but has become so much more. The subjects have become wide and varied but it’s never stopped being a celebration of life. I feel proud and grateful to have been able to share this creation with all of my readers.
5. Buffy Getting Attacked: There are so many moments with Buffy that I cherish but it was the attack and all the emotions that accompanied this event that showed me how much Buffy means to me. Buffy is not just a dog, she’s family and she’s one of my best friends.
4. My first student - "Sarah may not be the reason that I continue to be an educator, but she was the reason I fell in love with teaching."
3. Saying goodbye to my Grandfather - The eulogy I wrote for my grandfather was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. Surprisingly it wasn’t that hard to give. Seeing my family and feeling the love in the room as I spoke about how much my grandfather meant to all of us was a celebration of life.
2. Amelia - On March 13th, at 10:47pm my niece Amelia was born. Hearing about her birth over the phone simply made the world feel beautiful. I haven’t met her, but I am overcome with emotions thinking about that moment, being her uncle and how proud I am of my brother and sister-in-law.
Amelia you are proof that in this dark world there is hope, that love unites us beyond the differences that divide and that life is wonderful. You are beautiful, you are important and you will change the lives of the people you encounter on this journey called life for the better. I know this for a fact because you have already changed mine.
1. Meeting Diana for the first time - I don’t remember what we said to each other when we first met, I simply remember something different about Diana. After ten years, I can finally articulate what I couldn’t back then. Diana is simply the most amazing person I have ever met in my life. Everything that I’ve gone through in the last ten years only holds meaning because I’ve shared these moments with Diana.