December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)
The moment I felt most alive this year was in April, when I spoke at a conference. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it was truly the fullfilment of a goal I had made when I first found my calling…non-profit work. I had been sent, at that time, to the NC Center for Non-Profits conference and really began to figure out what I was put on earth to do, I remember seeing the people walking around with “Speaker” on their name tags and I thought “One day…one day that will be me!” And it only took 11 1/2 years. Which I’m OK with.
So it was a sunny, clear day in April and I left work around noon to drive to Asheville, one of the most beautiful places in NC. The hotel where the conference was being held was actually a resort, with a lush golf course and a beautiful lobby. The tile was shiny and made your heels go “clack clack clack” as you walked across it. It smelled like rich people, maybe mink oil and leather and fresh flowers and money. The young woman who checked me in called me “ma’am,” and smiled as she handed me my room keys.
I made my way toward my room, my heels clacking the whole way, and I slid the key into the slot and, as always, had a moment of anxiety that it wouldn’t work. But of course it did, so I went in the room and stowed my suitcase and flopped down on the sumptuous bed. I was so relaxed, I didn’t even turn on the TV.
After I chilled for a bit, I went in search of dinner. I ended up in the bar – of course – and I actually struck up a conversation with a stranger. And he bought me a drink, and then wished me a good evening. After that, I talked to an older lady who was in there while I ate my bacon cheeseburger and fries. We talked for a long time, and she drank while I ate, and her words got more and more slurred as the evening went on. Finally I extricated myself from what was becoming an increasingly weird conversation and headed back to my room. I changed into some comfy clothes and I opened the window, breathing in the fresh mountain air. It got cold pretty quickly, though, so I closed the window, went to bed and did my best to sleep.
When I got up and dressed the next morning, I could feel my body tingling with excitement. I tried to calm down. And when I got into the room where I would be presenting, and I looked around and just breathed it all in. I felt like throwing my hat up in the air a la MTM, but I reined it in and got my presentation ready and knew I was in my element doing this thing. Which, incidentally, was an all-day workshop.
So, as my participants came in and sat down and I greeted them I felt myself get nervous. But honestly, I told them how this day was a dream come true for me, and they all smiled warmly and some laughed when I said “Thank you for living the dream with me today.” And then, we were off to the races. I really don’t remember anything else until I got back in my car to head home.
And that was one moment that I will always remember, one day that I could see things come to fruition, one day that I felt truly alive.