When I was 16, I witnessed a traumatic accident where a soccer teammate of mine was slammed into a garage door by another teammate at a fundraising car wash. I can’t say I’ve been the same since. Tomorrow, I’m going to the World Cup finals – something I planned on doing for years that’s finally become a reality. I’m not much of a bucket list type person (more of a just-go-for-it type but not in an impulsive way) but if I had a bucket list this would be at the top. To make it even better, the US is playing in the finals against Japan and I’ll be there to watch every moment of it go down.

“Make note of this” – that’s what I tell myself with moments like these. Years ago when I was suicidal struggling with PTSD, anxiety, and depression (those big psych buzzwords), I told myself to hold on for these kind of moments. “What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.” I told myself to wait. Slowly with time, those best days of my life began happening again. I began to feel things other than anxiety, sadness, and hopelessness.

I pause when these big moments happen now. I take it all in and I don’t let anyone rush me. The finals tomorrow is a moment that’s going to be played out on the world’s stage and I’m making note of this. These are the moments I’ve held on for. This past month in Vancouver exploring museums, neighborhoods, mountains, coffee shops, concerts, and sunsets has been incredible.  I’ve picked fresh blackberries while watching the sunset. I’ve taken a gondola ride up to the top of a mountain only to be greeted by the most amazing view. I’ve watched professional athletes walk feet away from me minutes before game time. I’ve listened to Andrea Bocelli sing classics 100 yards from me with my mom. I’ve watched World Cup games including two quarterfinals and soon the final. I listened to a brass band play a free show on a Friday night. I’ve accidentally gotten lost and walked 8+ miles to get home just because it was too beautiful to take the bus. I’ve witnessed the most beautiful sunsets with someone I love. I’ve eaten the most delicious salmon too many times to count. On Canada day, I watched a fireworks show happen right before my eyes as I floated on a stunning sailboat. I’ve lived my life unedited and unfiltered. I don’t think twice about social media anymore because no amount of likes, favorites, retweets, whatever can come close to replicating or feeling what I’m feeling living my life. Continually, I’ve said to myself “Make note of this: this is what you held on for.”

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