My most meaningful experiences are grounded in an array of emotions that each of them elicited and what those feelings taught me. Just how it would be impossible to identify one prime, purposeful emotion in my life, it would also be unfathomable to narrow down to a singular core experience.
When my (step) dad came into my life. He has shown me what true love and acceptance feel like.
Stepping onto the UC Berkeley campus for the first time was the defining moment that signified my transition to adulthood. I moved across the planet to a country where I don't have any family to get a good education and learn independence, which filled me with nervousness, excitement, and optimism.
I am not a very fit person, but I went to Yosemite and did the infamous El Capitan trail as my first hike. 12 hours, aching legs, and many injuries later, I could not believe what I'd accomplished. This taught me the importance of perseverance for accomplishing goals we set for ourselves.
My grandfather abruptly forgot who I am, 10 minutes into our phone conversation because of a neurodegenerative condition. This incident filled my heart with dread and made me reflect on the importance of family, the impermanence of life, and the fact that he might not recognize me by the next time I get to see him.