The Moments that Define Us

I’ll always remember the Christmas we received our Nintendo 64.

There was a huge pile of presents on the couch next to the Christmas tree. I distinctly remember most of them being wrapped in red paper, but it was so long ago I can’t be sure. Anyway, we began pulling presents off the top, doling them out to everyone like we always did. Then, we moved one present and underneath a face was peering up at us. It was a cartoon face, with big blue eyes, a brown mustache, and a red plumbers hat. It was Mario.

Now, I’m pretty sure I remember what you said next:

“It’s a Nintendo! Dig faster!”  

We started throwing presents left and right until we finally unveiled the prize underneath: a brand new Nintendo 64. It included a copy of Mario 64, which I remember playing with you while we gorged on the cheddar popcorn from one of those oversized holiday tins. You were struggling with that penguin race in the arctic level. It was a Christmas to remember!

Unfortunately, I don’t remember when Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time arrived in our house and I so wish I did. That was a moment that would define the rest of my life.

The Legend of Zelda franchise shaped my childhood. I spent so much of my youth drawing fanart and trying out new games. I specifically fell in love with Majora’s Mask while I was in elementary school. My friend Shelby and I rented it from Hollywood Video and played it in her garage. It was so fun.

Sometimes I wish I had the power to step back and look at my life from start to finish. I want to step back and appreciate all the moments in my life that, at the time, seemed small, but in reality set me on a completely different course. I remember when we got the Nintendo 64, but I can’t remember the day Shelby and I walked up to Hollywood Video and it makes me a little sad.

In a previous post I mentioned that you were the one who got me into Harry Potter. I don’t remember when you brought the book to me, I just remember we were living in Vancouver and you said I should read Chamber of Secrets because I liked horror stories. Your decision to do that is the reason I’m married to Michael and, at the time, I had no idea that such a little thing was going to make such a big difference.

I vaguely remember the day my professor approached me in my college journalism class and said she wanted to put my name up for an internship with the communications department. If I hadn’t gone for it, I wouldn’t be working where I am today. That internship got me this position. What if I had decided not to go for it? What if I had decided to pursue one of the many other internship opportunities there were? Where would I be now?

Thinking about these little moments also makes me think about the decisions I’ve been making recently and I guess I would say it’s making me appreciate the present more. I want to remember the little things so that when I’m older and in a completely different place, I can remember what put me on this path.

So what are you defining moments, Dan? Can you remember the first time you rented a Mega Man game? Can you remember when you decided to pick up a pencil and start drawing?



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