Sunday, December 26, 2010


When I first decided to make a list of things to accomplish in my thirtieth year, I was partly motivated by a desire to have a suitable answer to my dad's yearly, "Any reflections?" question.
As usual, I’ve been procrastinating, putting off writing out my reflections because I don’t have anything particularly profound or earth shattering to report. My reflections, therefore, are mostly just a handful of observations, a few things I’ve noticed or realized over the course of the year.  I like lists, so a list it is.

1.     Turns out, I don’t like horse races. Like, at all.
I never even wrote about the day that Tom and I went up to the races at Del Mar. It started out great. It was Reggae and Beer Fest day at the races, so there was a giant beer tent and a Jimmy Cliff concert scheduled for after the last race. I had fun picking out which horses to bet on (based on their names, naturally) and I even won a few bucks during the first few races.

Then it turned awful. During the sixth race, Fantasy Free got squeezed into the inside rail and fell down right across from where Tom and I were standing. After the fact, I realized that I had inadvertently documented the horse's fall. This was my first attempt at taking pictures of the horses in action and I was still trying to figure out the appropriate settings to use, so it's very blurry. Watch number three - the jockey with the white silks. 

It quickly became clear that something was seriously wrong when track employees drove on to the track and set up screens on both sides of the track in an attempt to shield us all from the reality of what was happening. 

I couldn’t stop crying.  I realized that despite, or more accurately because of, my love of horses, I had no business being at the races. As I stood there, beer in hand, tears streaming down my cheeks, it occurred to me that horse racing was actually rather against my core principles. Who knew? Apparently, I have core principles. One of those principles is that it is wrong to use animals in ways that result in their deaths for the sole purpose of our entertainment.

2.     I don’t read enough.

I love reading. I really do, always have. But for some reason, I have not made time for it. I set out to read thirty books this year, and I actually read only nine! And one of those was a Young Adult book for school! Granted, I read that one four times because I read it aloud to all of my classes... Still, I used to read more books than that in any given summer.  The Piano Teacher, Pride and Prejudice, Siddhartha, If You Want to Write, On Writing, The Pearl, The Digital Photography Book, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Fallen Angels.

3.     I enjoy taking pictures and writing so I should make more time for these things.

That’s it.  Pretty straightforward.

4.     Telling the internet that you’ll do something is a pretty good way to make sure that you’ll do it. Some of the things that I did this year because I told the internet that I would:

{A little volunteering}
{Comenzó a aprender español}
{Rode in a hot air balloon}
{Watched a sunrise}
{Had a wine-soaked picnic in Napa}
{Watched a concert from a kayak}
{Completed a race}

5.     I don’t have to do things that I don’t want to do. Every top 100 list told me that I had to see Full Metal Jacket, and the Netflix DVD sat next to the TV for weeks, but I just never wanted to watch it. Maybe some day I’ll be in the mood for a graphic depiction of the horrific violence of the Vietnam War…I’ll watch it then.

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