23

I remember last year turning 22. I was invited to the birthday party of a girl whom I didn’t know well. Her name was Annika, and she hailed from Hamburg, Germany. We got to talking about the necessity of doing something crazy before another year had officially passed on both of our lives. We ran out to the courtyard of Place Plumereau, the oldest part of the city of Tours, France, and we did laps on the cobblestone in the rain. I can’t remember exactly why we did so, something about running backwards until time reversed itself. Moments before the clock struck midnight, I turned to her and asked if there was anything that she wanted to say as a 22-year-old. She said to me, “Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me.” I’ll never forget that moment.

Time is so paradoxical. That moment feels like a lifetime as well as a day away. I remember the light drizzle coming down, the lavish cake that Ines made from scratch, our seat in the back of La Belle Epoque, how taken aback I was by Annika’s response.

It is a rare occurrence to experience a moment that makes you think of the bigger picture, one in which you’ll think, hope to yourself that you’ll remember 20 years from now. That has happened many times throughout this past year. Memory is so unreliable, so I’ll just write them down now.

Most immediately, I’m glad for the incredible people that I have in my life, those whom I have met recently building a new community in Minneapolis and those whom I’ve known since 7th grade cross country season. This includes all of you fantastic folk at Chez Arnaud and French Meadow Bakery and Cafe, friends met abroad – France and Germany, Concordia friends and roommates, les monos du Lac du Bois, and members of Tommy’s Relationship.

In addition, thanks to those of you who have been reading my blog from time-to-time. The writing may not always be the best quality (to be honest, I really hate going back and revising things), but the occasional positive comment never goes unnoticed.

Finally, I want to thank my fantastic parents and sister, Dana, Michael, and Lauren. I realize now living in Minneapolis working two restaurant jobs and meeting so many different people with different backgrounds how fortunate I was to have so much help paying for school and how lucky I was to be able to do cross country in high school. It’s unimaginable how differently things could have turned out without you three.

This feels really silly and a bit unnecessary, a bit too sappy as well, like a thank you speech in which the speaker begins to quietly sob for having received an award, but I just feel really fortunate, and I want to let those of you who have been a part of my life this past year know how much the 22nd year of my life has meant to me. Thank you.

Matt

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