2015: Year of Adventure!9:02 AM
When 2015 began, I was in a weird place. I was mourning my late husband, Peter, and trying to figure out how I was going to move forward with my life. 2015 seemed intimidating when I looked at it through the frame of 2015 being the year he would never see; it was a year I had to go into alone.
I thought a lot about the things he'd never experience. There were places he never travel, foods he'd never eat, books he didn't have time to finish, parties he'd never attend, history he'd never live through. There were events in the lives of his friends and family that he would miss: weddings and babies and so many moments small and large. For Peter, I've wanted not to be that person—the one who can't get off the couch, who gets stuck living in the past and won't let the memory of what has been stop her from letting new things happen.
So in December 2014, I decided that the new year would be full of adventures. I would stay in the moment by just putting one foot in front of the other, seeking new and different experiences to add to the things I've done in life so far. I started dating a gorgeous man named Chris and his enthusiasm for life has powered many of these adventures. The grainy GIF above is a compilation of the goofy iPhone photos of some of the things I've done this year. A recap:
- Went to roller derby! - The Atlanta Roller Girls battled the Toxic Shocks in the first roller derby matchup I've ever watched. I thought I'd be enthralled by all the girl power in the arena, but my favorite part ended up being the puns in the players' nicknames.
- Spring break! - My mother-in-law, Karen, is a teacher, so for her Spring Break we drove a rental car to Florida to spend a week soaking up the sun and hanging out with my Grammy. After losing her youngest son, I can't think of anyone who deserved a vacation more than Karen!
- Went to a bird sanctuary! - Part of our trip to Florida included a visit to Naples' Bird Sanctuary. There, an offbeat lady cares for over a hundred birds, many of which are mean exotic birds that were too much of a handful for anyone else.
- Went to the Renaissance Faire! - People used to gasp aloud when I told them I had never been to a Rennaissance Faire. Is it really that big a deal, I wondered, for me to have never attended a live joust? Well now, I have, and I've also eaten the giant turkey leg. (I have the photo to prove it!)
- Went fishing! - One of my coworkers invited me to go fishing with her, her son, and her dad. The photo above is me gleefully clutching my first catch! (But we had to throw it back because it was too small!)
- Went to BookExpo America in New York! - I've been wanting to do this since 2011 when I heard that this publishing industry conference existed. There are rows and rows of booths of publishers, bookstores, and authors, gushing over the next-big-thing in books. It's heaven basically. I was too shy to talk to most people, but I got a ton of free books and a snazzy tote bag from Quirk Books.
- Hung out in Central Park! - Having lived in Brooklyn for two years, I've been to Central Park a bunch. Back in the day, I played company softball on the Great Lawn, so I know my way around the park. But strangely, I'd never actually seen Turtle Pond up close. So Chris & I climbed the giant rock beside the pond and cannoodled while watching turtles surface to get a better look at the many NYC tourists.
- NYC's best dumplings! - We got a dumpling feast from this counter-service dive for only about $5 and ate them on a park bench. They were soooo good. Too bad the place was closed by health inspectors a few months later. (I beg you—do not Google this.)
- Homemade dumplings! - I bought a dumpling cookbook in New York and was so thrilled by the tastiness of Prosperity's dumplings that I had to make some of my own (and then rope Chris into modeling them).
- Threw an Office Party! - It was maybe the only dinosaur and robot theme party the office had ever seen!
- Threw a Bridal Shower! - This very colorful event was a confetti-themed shower for my best friend who got married in August.
- Threw a bachelorette party! - We ate at retro restaurant in Philly and danced in a crowded bar.
- Was the Maid of Honor! - I gave a speech and everything!
- Went tubing! - I've gone tubing before, but never down the Chattahoochee river! I also bought water shoes so there can be made more river adventures in the future.
- Went to a cat circus! - We saw the Acro Cats perform live and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. I remain unable to train my cat to do anything.
- Went to Baconfest! - What a strange event. We ate a plateful of bacon, and saw everything from bacon t-shirts to bacon-flavored chocolates.
- Ran my first 5K! - I don't know why, but I thought 5Ks were "something other people did" and when my office participated in one, I suddenly thought, "Why not me?"
- Spent time in nature! - My stepdad took Chris and I on a hike when I was visiting my family in Pennsylvania. It was refreshing to remember to make time for family and for spending time outdoors.
- Was a robot! - My homemade Halloween costume won the office prize for "Weirdest," which I will always treasure.
- Hung out with Llamas! - Near Kennesaw Mountain, there are llamas. We stopped by for a quick chat.
- Made Siberian Mudslides! - This is something Chris invented. It's basically chocolate pudding with vodka in it. You heard it here first, folks! When you make them at home, please go easy on the vodka.
- Went to DragonCon! - I remain unable to coherently describe Dragon Con. It takes place in downtown Atlanta for several days, at four hotels. There are people dressed in various costumes from any sort of nerd culture they can think of; Super Mario characters, the cast of Frozen, stormtroopers, manga characters, etc. I applauded a woman dressed as Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. There were panels on science fiction, fantasy, Asian culture, and steampunk.
- Went swing dancing! - It turns out that the tempo of swing dancing is too slow for Chris and I. We jerked to the beat, stepped on each other's toes, and made up some new moves in the process.
- Went to a Wizard Ball! - The Harry Potter-themed wizard ball was a dream come true for an HP nerd like me. It was great to be surrounded by people dressed in their Hogwarts finest. I've had better Butterbeer though.
- Discovered mini pineapples! - Mom and I went to the grocery store for Thanksgiving foods and were shocked to discover that my favorite fruit had a more adorable baby sister! The photo includes a larger pineapple on the left for size comparison.
One of my biggest 2015 adventures was (ahem) starting a blog so I'd keep making things, flexing my creativity muscles, and doing my best to challenge myself day after day. Filling my posts with exclamation points reminds me to keep working to make life exciting and different. When choosing a name for my blog, I wanted confetti to be in there somewhere, because confetti is an illogical expression of sheer joy. It doesn't really make sense to throw around bits of paper or whatever when you know you (or someone) will have to clean them up afterward. But we toss confetti not to plan for the future or stay in the past—it's for celebrating the present moment.