Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year.
Describe it in vivid detail (textures, smells, voices, noises, colors).
It was tough to choose just one, which made me realize what a wonderful year it's been. The anni-birthday-versary trip to Oregon at the end of September came in a close second, for a myriad of reasons. Being there with someone amazing, driving the country roads singing and playing car games, sleeping in a heated platform tent, seeing an amazing band in the totally cool city of Portland, and the expansive, enchanting views of the coast that find their way into my mind's eye almost daily. It can't be distilled into one moment really. And there is one that is much more vivid.
Picture this. I'm standing in the ice cold water of the San Francisco bay. It's late July and the sun is fighting through the gray clouds. I'm in my underwear and the water is up to my waist. Above, I'm wearing two sweat soaked athletic shirts, which I can still smell through the clean, dry hoodie I have on over top. The water is bringing sweet relief to my legs. I've been looking forward to this moment for over 5 and a half hours. There is a ridiculous smile on my face, and probably biscotti crumbs, and I can taste the cinnamon goodness of a well earned reward. In the water with me is a magnificent tall ship, and a couple of brave swimmers. The breakwater of Aquatic Park bends around behind me and beyond that I can see Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate bridge. The bridge I've just run across, and back. I did it! My first marathon! Completed! All the months of training, and the miles traveled to get here. Officially the toughest physical (and possibly mental) challenge I have faced down, and conquered.
I can see Maverick standing on the white steps on shore, with the construction and renovations of the Maritime Museum behind him. The pride he feels is palpable. I can hear him chatting easily with two other marathoners who just finished their soak. I can sense the energy and leisure of a Sunday morning, as people stroll or bike through the green park and along the path towards, or away from, the bustle of the city. Beneath me, my toes grip the sand. The water rocks and bites me as my legs go numb, and my mind ticks away the time. I shiver, and take myself back to the finish line, remembering the weight of the enormous coaster-sized finisher medal as they put it around my neck.