I was going to write this blog entry about how yesterday at around 9:30 am, I received my first speeding ticket. EVER. I was on I-465 heading north to work at the Cheesecake Factory. As I continued on (at a much safer speed) to work, the words were already bouncing around in my head - descriptions of the stricken feeling when I saw those blue and red lights flash in my rearview mirror, comparisons of my shameless bawling to babies/girls watching the Notebook, and, of course, a rant on how much my Mellencamp-esque fight with authority (sort of) would cost me.
But then I got to work. And before I even finished my story, my coworkers were already sharing their own run ins with the law (some as tame as mine, some much more interesting). As we talked (and laughed) over our mistakes and misdemeanors, I began to feel better. I was already receiving free advice how to get out of my next ticket (cry harder, show cleavage), how to handle the ticket in court (cry more, show cleavage), and how to deal with the insurance company (I bet you can guess). Although their advice may or may not have been helpful, it definitely made my situation a lot more bearable (well, until I found out where the fine money actually goes). Everyone had something to contribute to the discussion - whether it was their sympathies or stories.
Then and there, standing in the employee breakroom, it hit me. Even though this was my first speeding ticket (EVER.), there was nothing inherently special about it. It's definitely not a milestone, Hallmark doesn't even make a card for events like this (yet. do you hear me, David Hall?). I was neither the first or the last person to ever receive (or earn, if you want to take ownership of the situation) a speeding ticket, and I wasn't even the first or last to receive one in that exact same patch of highway (speed limit 55, for future reference).
Yet, isn't that what life is about? If something happens, and you don't tell anyone about it, did it really impact your life? Literally, yes. If I don't pay that ticket, whether I told anyone I got it or not, the courts will take notice. But also, in a way - if you don't tell anyone, it didn't even make a blip on your radar of being. Everyone you know has someone they always talk to about something - even if it's calling my brother to tell him about how I was harassed in downtown Indy while wearing a Duke jersey (oops), relating to Erin at work regarding man issues, or dialing my college roommate/bff Dina to discuss everything from cheese cubes (yes, really) to a cute sweater I saw on sale at J. Crew to military policy. No one experience is a single event - it would be impossible to live life vividly without the exchange of perspective and opinion. Both our eyes and minds would be closed to new experiences.
Then there's you - my social media besties (feel special). I blip new fist pump worthy techno songs on blip.fm, tweet the first thing that crosses my mind when I wake up in the morning, update my Facebook with photos from my latest adventures, read countless blogs about everything - from cupcakes to PR strategy to college basketball. Some of you I know (and have serenaded, sorry Hayley), have met through social media (@chuckgose is an invaluable ally), have never met (but maybe we'll meet up at the NKOTBSB concert, Ashley), or have been dying to meet for years (@stephenathome, you'll never be not funny). You share your thoughts, you listen, you offer feedback - & you're always there, whether it's 2 am and there's no one else to talk to or because there's just no one else like you out there. Countless times the course of my day has changed because of something I saw on Twitter (new sandwich at @goosethemarket? yes please!), a special listed on Foursquare, or someone's Facebook status says they want a friend to watch the Colts game with. Social media has opened up an inside peek into the lives of others we would not even know existed. It has enabled us to make friends, create stronger bonds, and therefore experience life completely differently.
Social media has made us both one in a million and one of millions. We're neither the first nor the last, but we're impactful (yes, I'm making up a word) and important in our own unique ways because of whom we share our life with - online and offline.
While we're on the topic of sharing - anyone want to 'share' my speeding ticket fine with me? Just kidding. Sort of.