Today one of the trending topics on Twitter was #iwillneverforget.  I never know how these trending topics get started, but for those not “in” on the twittermania the trending topics are popular phrases, basically the top ten things people are talking about right now.  A lot of times they’ll use the hashtag (that’s the pound sign for you non-geeks) to denote particular things. 

When news broke about Michael Jackson, I found out about it on twitter’s trending topics before it had even hit the AM radio waves. It’s fast.

So twitters trending topics are kind of like instant snapshots in the life and times of people on twitter, on the internet, walking around the globe letting others know what they’re thinking about.  Kind of awesome if you ask me.

So anyways, today was #iwillneverforget and it made me think first of all, what made this be popular? And second, what will I never forget?

I don’t know exactly what made it be popular other than the fact that when I started thinking about it, a flood of memories overwhelmed me and some were good, some were happy, some were sad… but it made me think for a minute about the things that, God willing, I will remember until I die.

The things that we’ll never forget kind of define us as people.  Sure, there are things that impact people on a wide scale (the Challenger explosion back in 1986, 9/11, the Tsunami in 2004, Virginia Tech Shootings, Hurricane Katrina) and then there are things that impact people on an individual level (the death of a loved one, the birth of a loved one, a graduation, a victory, a defeat).  Combined together we have this menagerie of memories.

So I thought I’d share some things I’ll never (hopefully) forget.

  • I will never forget the feeling of waking up when camping with my family at Cherry Lake.  None of the other places I camped had the same magic that Cherry Lake did.  I remember waking up in my sleeping bag, peeking my head out of the sleeping bag into the cold brisk mountain air.  I never would get up right away, and that served several purposes. One, it was WAY to cold outside to get up right away.  Two, and more importantly, I loved the experience of the morning – the birds chirping, the wind gently rustling my tent, the smell of the fire and the pop of the pine cones heating up, the smell of coffee, and my parents voices still quiet for fear of waking us.  It was absolute and utter serenity the likes of which I have only glimpsed since then.  If I sleep in heaven, when I wake up I think it will feel like those cold mornings did.
  • The first time I heard ska.  When I was a  young girl I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything other than christian music, and the only stuff my parents listened to were by people born in the 20s… so my experience with music was VERY limited.  When my step-sisters moved in they had been listening to county at their grandparents, so in the wisdom of minimizing trauma my parents let us listen to country.  A few years after that I wrote an article about my best friend, the preacher’s daughter, that got published in the denomination’s teen magazine.  As a reward they sent me a few cds.  The first one I put in was Supertones Strike Back by The Orange County Supertones.  I put the CD into the music player, turned it up to a volume not generally allowed, and hit play.  The drums sounded, trumpets blared and it literally changed my life.  Before hearing their upbeat, happy tunes I had no idea that music anything close to that existed.  Seriously. I can’t stress that enough, that CD changed my life on many, many levels.  It has an amazingly soft spot in my  heart and rightfully so.  You can hear it here, but it won’t be the same.
  • The day I got my letter about passing the CHSPE – The California High School Proficiency Exam, the test that gave me freedom from the confines of modern education.  I had prayed and prayed and prayed and knew that I had a reasonable shot of passing but I also knew that my prayer had been “If you want me to go back to high school, then let me fail this test.” I passed, and when I read those words I ran around the pool table shouting, jumping around, and jumped so much I sprained my ankle. It was a great way to become a sort-of high school graduate.

I won’t bore you with waking up to my dad saying “wake up, the country’s under attack” on 9/11, or the meal I ate the night my grandfather committed suicide.  Those aren’t happy.  But I do think that in the right amount, a bit of reminiscience isn’t bad.  It’s good to remember where we’ve come from, it’s good to remember important events in our life because even if they didn’t affect you directly sometimes they still help define you as a person.  We are, for better or for worse, partially defined by the events around us.  How we are defined though, that’s up to us.