At a recent Google Hang staff meeting, my boss asked everyone to share the "best 30 seconds of their life." The 30 seconds that, if you were about to die and had the chance, you would be able to relive. Four thoughts popped into my head: 1, Way to pop awkward "team building" activities on us, Boss; 2, This sounds like the plot of a terrible movie starring Will Smith and his entire family; 3. Can I talk about LSD in front of the interns? And 4, Holy shit it's hard!
I haven't even been alive for that long, and yet trying to pinpoint the best 30 seconds of the past 25 years seemed to be impossible. To help narrow it, I tried to think about the most enjoyable period of my life. Once I had that, I focused on a specific month, then week, then event, then moment.
Many different possibilities popped up -– trips with family, moments spent with my bad ass grandmother who passed away last year, the times I have been so in love I wanted to both sing with happiness and vomit in terror simultaneously.
Perhaps I would just want to relive the best orgasm ever, or the time I did acid and wound up at an outdoor burlesque show in the middle of the woods at 2 am where a gorgeous cross-eyed dancer somehow managed to take off her stockings with her teeth.
However, the first thing I thought of, and the memory that kept coming back as I stewed, was a moment stolen from the summer I went to Bonnaroo with three of my close friends. We drove straight from Connecticut to Tennessee in a car packed full of hormones and camping equipment.
There were moments throughout the trip that were the happiest (and filthiest) I've ever been -– doing something exciting in a place I had never been, with some of my favorite people.
One early morning around 3 or 4 am, I had a minute or two of exhilarating clarity. You know, the kind that often come when you haven't bathed, slept or showered in days. The cool air on my skin and the people around me made me feel more alive than I had ever felt. I had nowhere to be, nothing I needed to do, and I just felt deliriously present. That's exactly how I would want to feel if I knew I would never feel anything again.
Sharing our moments in a group was awkward. Being put on the spot makes me clammy -– improv has never been my thing. However, I couldn't stop thinking about the exercise after it was over. One thing being put on the spot does, for me at least, is encourage an honest answer. Had I had a few hours to really think about it, maybe I would have come up with something a littler deeper than being fucked up with my friends at a music festival.
Shallow as it may seem, as I listened to everyone else share their moments, the trend seemed similar: a new experience, visiting somewhere beautiful or inspiring, or time spent with loved ones. One of our interns talked about a day she spent in Prague -- where she had never been. She was supposed to be taking a tour of museums but instead spent the day smoking weed and eating. She found her best 30 seconds within that memory.
At risk of sounding dreadfully cheesy, it really helped me remember what's important. Nobody was sharing stories about the time they got their work in by deadline or stayed in alone watching every season of "America's Next Top Model" and eating takeout.
Thirty seconds is an extremely short period of time. To portray this, here is a video of the second thing I would relive over if I could: The time I fulfilled a life long dream of lying down in a pile of puppies. The video is 33 seconds long, and you can see by my fits of uncontrollable giggling that I'm pretty freaking happy.
What would you relive over and over if you could? Tell me in the comments -- don't tell me how gag-inducingly hokey I can be sometimes, because I already know.