My Nectar List: A Year in Ireland

My Nectar List: A Year in Ireland

Today is my 23rd birthday, and there’s just something about it that seems so definitive. We all seem to pause at these milestones, reflecting on what has passed and anticipating what has yet to come, but all I have been able to think about these last few days are the things that I currently don’t have. Now that my adventurous year in Ireland has ended, the things at the forefront of all thoughts are the no’s: no job, no money, no car, no boyfriend, and no more size 2 waistline. I’ve always had my “what’s next?” figured out, even if only as a temporary fix or as a general outline, but now I’ve got nothing. I don’t even have a “pla.”

But what has unsurprisingly occurred to me on the day of my birth is that I am 23. I am only 23-years-old. And while this fact has previously led me to the fetal position, giving reference to my peers who seem to have all of their shit figured out, it now has me in a state of jubilation: I have already done so many epicly cool things and I’m only 23. Things that people wait their entire life to do, but never actually get around to doing. Things that people look at and think, “wow. I wish I had that life.” What do I have to be worried about when I live a life like that? I might not have everything figured out, I may not know what I’m doing next, but I know what I’ve done: I’ve lived.

And because it occurred to me how boring it is to focus on the don’ts, the no’s, and the maybes, I decided to start a Nectar list. Unlike a bucket list, which focuses on wishes, on the things we haven’t done yet, a Nectar list focuses on all of the things that we have done. It is a list of all of the cool things that we’ve experienced, of all the things that have happened to us that we want to remember, laugh about, cry about, and be proud of. Having started this the week I left for Ireland, my nectar list represents all of the fun I’ve had this past year; it represents all of the life that I’ve already live, just in one year. And after reading it over now, it makes me realize just how kick-ass I am.

So starting today, as tradition, I’m going to make a nectar list every year, so that with every coming birthday, I’ll have them to look back on. I’ll be able to reflect on these memories if I ever feel down, inadequate or unaccomplished, and will be able to remember the true strength I have, the life I’ve lived, and the millions of reasons I have to be proud of who I am and what I’ve already conquered. My life is wicked cool, and my 22nd year undoubtedly screams this deadly tune.

My Nectar List: 22

  1. Lived in Ireland for a year.
  2. Learned to drive a manual car on the left side of the road.
  3. Had a pint of Kilkenny in Kilkenny.
  4. Went to Sunday Service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
  5. Stood atop the Giant’s Causeway.
  6. Toured the oldest Whiskey distillery in the world.
  7. Let my feet dangle off a cliff in Ballymore, Inishmore, and Velentia Island.
  8. Got the life scared out of me as Dean Winchester at Spooktacular.
  9. Seen, and attempted to read, the Book of Kells.
  10. Went to my first ever Rugby game at Aviva stadium.
  11. Ate Black Forest cake in the Black Forest of Germany.
  12. Made my own chocolate bar at the Lindt factory in Cologne.
  13. Experienced both good and bad luck in a five-minute span atop the Cliffs of Moher.
  14. Learned to pour and drink the perfect pint of Guinness.
  15. Was mistaken for a local Irishwoman.
  16. Smoked a joint in Amsterdam.
  17. Spent New Year’s Eve at a high-class Moulin Rouge event in Amsterdam.
  18. Saw the peace walls and Crumlin Goal of Belfast.
  19. Sang Spice Girls karaoke in the UK.
  20. Took a shot of Buckfast and Poitin.
  21. Found the end of a rainbow.
  22. Was a leprechaun for an hour and climbed on giant furniture.
  23. Was led atop the Ben Bulben mountain.
  24. Saw waves crashing along Downpatrick Head.
  25. Visited the resting place of W.B. Yeats
  26. Traversed the Ailwee Caves.
  27. Went on a pub crawl in Galway.
  28. Visited 3 countries in 3 days with my best friend in the world.
  29. Went to a medieval banquet at Bunratty castle.
  30. Got completely scuttered at the original Durty Nelly’s.
  31. Gate crashed a wedding reception.
  32. Drove along the entire Ring of Kerry.
  33. Drove over the mountains on the narrowest roads known to man.
  34. Got hit on hard by a group of 50-90-year-old-men reciting poetry.
  35. Cycled through Inishmore.
  36. Drank from the Torc and Powerscourt waterfalls.
  37. Kissed the Blarney Stone and was blessed with the gift of gab.
  38. Spent St. Paddy’s Day in Dublin, Ireland.
  39. Irish step danced with two sweet little girls in an Irish pub.
  40. Saw the Paddy’s Day parade.
  41. Kissed an Irishman on Paddy’s Day.
  42. GOT ON STAGE AND DANCED AND SANG WITH THE DROPKICK MURPHYS!
  43. Met and was photographed with Ken Casey.
  44. Ventured through the Scottish Highlands.
  45. Waited for the Hogwarts Express at Glenfinnan Viaduct.
  46. Went looking for Nessie at Loch Ness.
  47. Took shots of Scottish Whisky at Edinburgh Castle.
  48. Held an Owl on the Royal Mile.
  49. Literally left our mark in the Elephant House Café’s bathroom.
  50. Ate lunch in the exact seat at the exact table in the exact café where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  51. Rubbed Greyfriar’s Bobby’s nose for luck (not to mention Molly Malone’s jugs).
  52. Visited the resting place of Tom Riddle.
  53. Dipped my feet in at both ends of the Atlantic Ocean.
  54. Rode the tube and minded the gap.
  55. Went to Hogwarts … Actually.
  56. Flew on a broom and drank butterbeer.
  57. Stood under Big Ben as it rang throughout London.
  58. Rode a red, double-decker bus.
  59. Watched the six nations rugby tournament in a craft beer factory.
  60. Visited Buckingham Palace.
  61. Walked in the Beatles’ footsteps across Abbey Road.
  62. Visited Chinatown in London.
  63. Saw the Millennium, London and Tower bridges.
  64. Built an Inukshuk on Slieve League, so the people would know we were here.
  65. Bought a Claddagh ring in the city it originated from.
  66. Met and chatted with the members of Keywest as they were busking in Galway.
  67. Had my foot run over by a taxi and kept on trucking.
  68. Celebrated Ireland voting yes and becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by day drinking in Dublin.
  69. Stole and lost a “Vote Yes” referendum sign in the same night.
  70. Met a costumed stag party and hit the Groom obligingly.
  71. Dated an Irish Redhead.
  72. Drank at the oldest pub in Ireland.
  73. Sang “The Fields of Athenry” in the fields of Athenry.
  74. Got an Irish tattoo.
  75. Watched a hurling and gaelic football match in Croke Park.
  76. Drank copious amounts of beer on top of a van at the beach during Sea Sessions.
  77. Lived with and cared deeply for three beautiful children and their parents.
  78. Saw a slew of Icebergs in the Atlantic Ocean.
  79. Hiked to the top of Signal Hill in St. John’s.
  80. Watched the Canada Day Fireworks from a Navy Ship.
  81. Co-created a Canadian drinking game.
  82. Rang in my 23rd birthday with good friends, live music, free shots and good-looking men.

22 was an absolutely epic year for me, and though I’m faced with an overwhelming amount of opportunities now, with no idea which direction I’ll be heading or where I’m going to end up, I know for damn certain that 23 will be just as adventurous, just as fulfilling, and just as incredible as this last year has been. Because I know me. I know what I’m capable of, who I want to be, and I’m determined as hell to make it so. I’m confident, I’m independent, and I am incredible, and I want to live a full life that I can look back on knowing that I really lived, never compromised, having no regrets. This list here, these moments, that’s all the matters in the end. The rest are just details.

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