As part of my un-official series “Get to know your blogger better,” tonight I’ll be sharing my thoughts on a question prompted by Plinky this month:
Think of three important years in your life — not including the year you were born. Why are these 3 separate years so important? What happened, and where were you?
I almost missed this question on my weekly Plinky email, because it was the one at the bottom, which is a part of their emails I’ve always ignored. But as I quickly scanned the contents of that email, I saw this and I knew I wanted to answer. And as I thought of the three years that were so important to me, I saw a pattern emerge: years and events that mark a change from bad experiences to life changing experiences are the ones that stand out for me. So now as I share my important years, you’ll also learn of the 3 events that changed my life:
The year is 1998, which was my first year of High School, which if you’ve been reading for a while, or known me for a while, you know that my teen years were no picnic. And it’s not like 1998 was the year everything suddenly became better, because it wasn’t. But it was the year I decided to say F* off to all of my tormentors and live the nerd life I was meant to live: devourer of books, britpop fan, and president of the Live Forever Oasis Fan Club, the only semi-official Oasis Fan Club on the planet (yup, it had a tagline). That fanclub might as well have been the precursor of my nerd life on the web, but pre-web. Yes, the internet existed in 1998, but it wasn’t as widely popular as it is today. Thanks to my extensive English knowledge though (for a South American high schooler), I read and translated articles about Oasis into a monthly zine for the subscribers of the Live Forever Fan Club (For a modicum US$2,50 a month to cover printing and mailing costs). That zine was a work of love, I even created crosswords and puzzles based on Oasis. And the first website I ever designed? “Baby Gallagher,” to share photos of the Gallagher brothers, their wives, and their kids.
And 1998 was the year Oasis first came to play in Brazil. It was March 21st, 1998. 14,000 people bought tickets and showed up for the concert, but I was one of the lucky few who got a spot in the front row, with Noel Gallagher (Oasis leader and all-around gentleman) right across from me and my Live Forever Fan Club president t-shirt. But that wasn’t really the event that changed my life.
That night, after the concert, thanks to the ingenuity of our young age, three friends and I headed out to the hotel the band was staying to try to meet them. And me, also out of ingenuity, had asked all of the Live Forever Fan Club members to send me letters to the band, that I made into a book to give to Oasis. In what planet I was living in to think that would ever happen, I don’t know.
But it did. I’ve shared my account of that night in other places, but since today I’m talking about the year, I won’t go into details. But that night, profoundly altered my view on life. My first thought the next day, when I was back to being somewhat cohesive, was that dreams do come true. A bit of luck might be involved, but if it wasn’t for my perseverance and ingenuity, it would never had happen. Yes, the dream of a 15 year old is a simple one, but that isn’t what matters. And having that happen to me, imbedded in me a new strength that years of depression and bullying had taken away from me. I didn’t became happy from one day to the next, but that night was the catalyst for my first big change in life.
I started college in 2001, which was the start of a happier me. And I know it sounds kind of like a downer to keep pointing out how unhappy I was growing up, but I always felt that my evolution as a person was connected to my level of happiness, so let me power through this. College brought me friends that were more like me, and independence to make adult decisions and stick to them. But even though I was happier than in High School, college also brought some pretty down moments in my life, culminating in the end of 2004 when everything just felt like it was going to shit (pardon my language). I was still unconvinced that I was good enough at anything to make a career out of it. My work felt mediocre compared to that of my colleagues. I had passion for advertising and design to spare, but I didn’t have experience or maturity in either. And that alongside a love life that was going fast towards the path of self-destruction, it didn’t really matter that my grades were up and my friends were awesome. I was pretty lost and verging on depression again.
And that’s why, out of spite, I signed up for the Disney International College Program with a few other friends from my class. Surprisingly, I was accepted (with 14 others in my state), and spent the next few months divided between being so excited about going on a trip abroad, and having to hide my excitement from people that I loved but weren’t supportive of this endeavor at all. But I had my “whatever” button turned on, and I powered through and boarded that darn plane to Orlando barely a day after my last final. And you know what? I DID have the time of my life. I met amazing people that will be my friends for life, I have no doubt about it. I learned about Customer Service and Corporate Identity from the best in the business. And the most important of all, it helped me make decisions that would shape the live I’m living right now. I went back home and put an end on all things that were making me not so happy. I got a job doing web-design, something that up until then I thought it was only a hobby, not a career path. I became a TA for a web-design class as well, and found out I was actually really good at teaching. 2005 was a tough year: making some difficult decisions to end all unhappy things in my life made me even more unhappy for a while. But I learned how to smile at Disney, and I have not stopped smiling ever since.
On a side note. going to Disney really made me believe in magic again, something I had lost after going through all that I went through when I was young. But being there, and being part of that world, I now know that magic is real, because we are it.
Yes, last year. I was having a hard time coming up with a third significant year: it’s hard to top 1998 and 2005. But then I realized that 2012 was a year of significant changes as well. The catalyst this time? Occupy the Wardrobe. A silly idea from a blog Vica shared on twitter, and it snowballed into something big for me. No, the blog didn’t turn into a hit. And no, no one is paying me to blog and talk about my sense of fashion. But you remember how I just talked about my feeling of not being good enough in anything? I think 2012 was the year that I finally got over it. Because you know, I am good at things. I am good at anything I work hard to be good at. I wasn’t one of those lucky few born with innate talent, and it doesn’t matter, because I make it happen anyway. And it also doesn’t matter I’m not getting international recognition for my newly acquired skills with a sewing machine, or my beautiful travel photography that I’m not entering into any contests anyway. I feel good about the things I do. I feel, dare I say, satisfied. My skills make me happy. My work makes me happy. I’m good at what I do because I work for them. And I won’t say I work hard for them, because, how can it be hard if it’s so much fun? Okay, let’s call it hard work because a lot of hours go into it, but it’s still easy because I’m having the time of my life.
So that’s it for today, guys. I had a lot of thoughts to share, which probably made for a very long procrastination session on your part, but I’d love to know which 3 years changed your life as well. Please share in the comments!
Thanks for reading,