examples of memorable moments from life. Joys, challenges,
accomplishments, epiphanies, events that are linked with depths of emotions that
one has felt in life. We urge you to
write a list of your own memorable moments. You may be surprised by how
rich your life has been as you read back through it. And your list can
continue to grow as you remember more. Send us your list if you would like it considered
for publication on this website. We hope to show a number of lists in the
future. The following list is provided as an example.
Erik Reed's Memorable
- Age 3. Thunderstorms while in a dark camper at night somewhere in
the east. I think it was in Texas or New Orleans. A trip my
parents took to see my father's relatives. Scary, but also like an
awakening inside of the grandeur and wonder of the world.
- Age 3. An old man on a dock in tranquil water. Warm air.
He was a kind old man. A relative of my father, I think. Probably
- Age 3. Diving for colored plastic rings in a pool at my Montessori preschool
in Tualatin, Oregon.
- Age 4. Learning to tie my shoes. It was very difficult, I
remember. But I stuck with it through hours of frustration and felt a
great pride once I'd done it.
- Age 4 to 11. "Sing," our Alaskan Malamute/Siberian Husky mix. A princely beast.
He was called Sing because of the way he howled at night, like he was singing to
the moon. He was our dog from when I was 4 years old until I found
him dead one night when I was about 11.
- Age 6. Party on Mount Hood, Oregon,
riding huge tire inner-tubes down the bunny slopes with friends. Some of the best fun of
- Age 10. Going to see movies in big dark theatres with my friends.
It was so fun, exciting, and independent.
- Age 17. Almost losing my life on an ice shelf on a mountain near Ashland, Oregon. My first real brush with death. I saw my worst fear while standing on that ledge, with only
an inch of ice under my shoes and my 150 pounds of pressure. My worst fear
was dying anonymously, with no one there to witness it, with no one there to
understand my last moments or my last feelings. I imagined reading about
my death in the paper a few days later after they found my body on the rocks
hundreds of feet below.
Although my appreciation for life had existed before
then (dating back to when I was about 11 or 12), the event underscored that
appreciation and made me conscious of how easy it is to lose one's life.
It made me feel that everything after that moment was not to be worried about, because it was all gravy. I should be
dead. But I wasn't.
- Age 14. Taking the train to New York with my best friend, also 14
years old. We spent two weeks in the city that never sleeps. We
saw Springsteen in concert at the Garden. We spent restful days on Long
Island. We got to see Billy Joel and Elton John in concert when we got
back to Portland, Oregon, the week before I started my sophomore year in high
- Age 17. Falling in love and learning that I was loved back by the
girl of my dreams. Although very different from me, she shared my
benevolent sense of life--the expectation that life should be filled with
sunshine, great dreams and tremendous depth of experience.
- Age 17. June 15th, 1987. Leaving my home and my soulmate--the girl I loved
more than anyone in the world. Taking a year off after high school and
before college to work and explore the world. My goal was to support
myself and save enough money to go to New Zealand for two months. I was
testing myself and testing the world. Leaving her was one of the hardest
choices I've ever made, but pursuing my dream was necessary for my growth and
confidence. We told each other that no matter what happened, we would
meet again in five years. Not necessarily to get back together, but just
to at least see each other again, have a cup of coffee and see what had become
of our dreams. We were truly and deeply in love.
- Age 18. Getting my job as a deckhand on a small cruise ship out of Seattle,
- Age 18. Applying to the University of Chicago while in my deckhand
bunk. Writing my essays and filling out applications with a little wall
light above me. Not applying to any other colleges. My soulmate
was attending U of C, so it was the only school I even considered trying to
- Age 18. Cleaning the bow of the ship at 6:00am with morning fog all around.
There was a crispness in the air, a freshness to everything, a feeling of beginning
life itself. I was alone with only the sound of the water below.
The fog slowly began to burn away and the early morning sun lit up
everything around me in gold and pink, until I could see the American flag on
the prow flapping in the breeze, followed by the sun itself breaking through
behind the flag in the distance.
- Age 18. Traveling by train to Chicago after my deckhand job.
Ostensibly traveling there to interview at the U of C, but perhaps more
importantly to see the face of the girl I loved one more time.
- Age 18. Stopping over in Hawaii on my way to New Zealand. I
stopped over for a number of days. In Honolulu, trying to save money, I
slept on Waikiki beach until I got rousted and decided to move to a hotel
stairwell. I was woken in the middle of the night by security and
detained for trespassing. The police questioned me for an hour, but they
finally let me go. I wandered the streets for hours in a daze, just
waiting for morning.
- Age 18. Arriving in New Zealand with absolutely no plans. I
had purposely not made plans. I wanted to just leave the airport with my
backpack and decide in the moment which way to go. I started hitchhiking
and ended up heading south. I continued south, rarely knowing which city
lay ahead until I reached it. I ultimately arrived at the southernmost
tip of the south island and decided to visit Stewart Island, a rugged island
some miles off the New Zealand coast. After a 10-day hiking trip on
Stewart Island, I hitched back north along a different route until I reached
Auckland again and the end of my journey. That first moment in New
Zealand stays with me, however, as one of the most special moments in my life,
because in that one moment, I was without direction. I gave up planning
and I gave myself up to chance, and it turned out wonderfully. I thought
in terms of today and tomorrow and sometimes yesterday, but never about 2
months from now or 2 years from now, except when I daydreamed about what I
might want for my life. It was a period of intense spiritual freedom.
- Age 18. Learning in December of 1987, on my hitching trek back up
through New Zealand, that I had been accepted by the University of Chicago.
I think I learned it after calling my mother from some outback general store.
I could only afford to talk for a few minutes, but she told me that she had
received an acceptance letter from the U of C. When I left the store, I
started hiking on the road in the middle of nowhere. I crossed a bridge
across a river and took photos of myself and my excitement on that bridge, as
a metaphor for the bridge I felt I was crossing in life, and as a testament
that dreams, when worked for, can and do come true.