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Friday, October 30, 2015

My Year of Living Dangerously

I've never been a fan of New Year's resolutions. It always seemed that no matter how gung-ho I was about losing weight or eating healthy or not making dead baby jokes I usually fell off the wagon after a few weeks.  Well not this year, dammit!

A few days after 2015 rang in, I decided to give myself a challenge instead of a resolution: I would treat 2015 as my year of living dangerously.  I would branch outside of my comfort zone and do things that were challenging; things that maybe even scared me.

I started by vowing to take part in the entirety of the Photo A Day challenge from one of my favorite websites, Forever Young Adult. I managed to take a photo and submit it via Instagram for all 31 days of January.  That might not sound like a big deal, but I'm the type of person who can't be relied upon to remember to take any sort of daily medication if it isn't sitting on my kitchen table.  So this was already a pretty big step for me.

Anyone who knows me should be insanely impressed by this drawing I managed.

I had several helpers while working on HP shrink-dinks.

Then there were my reading habits.  There are TONS of awesome New Year's reading challenges out there.  But I was afraid that I wouldn't have the time to commit fully to a vigorous reading list.  So I made my own challenge for the year.  I have a tendency to read books by dead American/British white guys.  So I vowed to read more books by female authors, authors of other races and non-American/British authors.  I am surprised to say that I kicked ass at this personal challenge.  Without thinking about it too hard, over 75% of my reading this year has fit those parameters and I don't think I'll go back next year :)

Another challenge I set for myself and DJ was to watch more movies.  Now, before we had a kid, going to the movies was pretty much our main hobby.  But since it is far harder to get out these days, I thought it would be cool to try to watch all 100 movies on the AFI Top 100 List.  Thus, my Drinking at the Movies blog posts were born.  Though now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever posted any of the AFI films yet.  But we've drank and watched other movies!

With my 30th birthday looming, I wanted to do something awesome.  DJ told me to pick our vacation destination this year and I chose to return to Maine.  I wanted to climb a goddamned mountain!  And to drive into Canada and see the Anne of Green Gables house...  But before I could attempt to do either of those things, I spent 6 months battling a host of weird and painful symptoms before starting infusion treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis.  What's that?  You've never heard of Ankylosing Spondylitis? Well, it's an inflammatory disease, arthritis actually, but not Rheumatoid Arthritis and not Osteoarthritis either.  It can cause the vertebrae in your spine to fuse together and you get all kinds of painful joints and swelling issues.  Needless to say, this was going to complicate my goal of climbing a mountain.  So... I took more steroids than usual and while I didn't make it to the top of the mountain, that was more due to the fact that we needed at least 8 hours to make it up and down Mount Katahdin  and we didn't get to Baxter State Park until 2 PM than the fact that my right knee sucks.  But we did what I set out to do:  I climbed a goddamned mountain!  Or at least, stumbled around over her feet like a drunken toddler.

Water from a cool mountain stream.

Hey look, a rock!

So tired.

It was straight up the entire hike...

I had known for a few months that Jenny Lawson (author of two awesome books) was coming to Milwaukee to publicize her new book.  Having recently listened to the audio book version of her first book, I was in LOVE with Jenny's honesty and her wonderful reading voice.  I had to go.  Two problems: A. hubs was going to be out of town at a conference and I would have to take the kiddo with me and B. I'd never been to Boswell Books before.  See, I don't really talk about the fact that I have what I have self-diagnosed as a mild social anxiety disorder.  I am scared about driving/going to places I have never been before and I have a hard time talking to people I don't know (if they break the ice first, my acting skills kick in and I can fake like I'm normal but inside... it's full-blown panic up in my brain).  Anywhoski, I took several hours out of my day off a week before the book signing and went to Boswell's.  I didn't get lost.  I picked up my pre-ordered book and everything was fine.  When the signing night arrived, we got there in time, the toddler stayed in his stroller for an hour and a half, didn't cry and we didn't knock over any book displays.  SUCCESS!

This November, I've decided to try to do NANOWRIMO.  Why would someone who hasn't written any fiction since graduating college suddenly decide to try and write a novel?  Because this is MY YEAR AND I AM OWNING IT!  I may not finish, but I'm going to try.  Like so many of the other things I've done this year, writing is scary for me but I'm going to push through and try.

Here's to living dangerously!