Milestone birthdays seem to warrant celebrations, so I decided to honor my next one in a non-traditional way. I came up with the idea of one new experience for each year of my life. I identify with “_0” as my age next year, partly because I don’t share my age, and “_0” was suggested as a solution. I keep a journal of each experience. It helps me keep count, and it’s fun to look back.

The premise isn’t as straightforward as a “Bucket List.” Some choices are deliberate, like running a 5K with a dog in matching pink tutus. Frozen hot chocolate was spontaneous. Riding a Ferris wheel was an opportunity I passed on — again — and I’m OK with that.

I popped into It’s a Sweet Life at Halcyon where I decided to try a macaroon. The small confections had been given rave reviews by friends, but not being a fan of coconut, I’d avoided them. This time it would be different. I chose one behind the sign that read “Pink Champagne,” believing champagne colored sprinkles and two baby pink cookies would make it a festive way to celebrate my current birthday and toast the next. After interrogating the staff almost to the point of having sworn affidavits attesting that there wasn’t a flake of coconut in the macaroon did I venture forward with my purchase. It was delightful to look at, and delicious.

The next month, I participated in a 5K alone. I hadn’t trained for it. I needed to do it. Mentally and physically. My decision was to stay in the back of the pack and sightsee along the downtown Jasper, Ga., route. I started walking, then walk/jog, then jog, finally running. Not sure if it was the emotions associated with the lump that had been discovered a week earlier or the Doberman behind me, but I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes and never saw the dog again. Or the lump.

My trek to Bethlehem, Ga., the “little town beneath the star,” as it’s referred to, was next. I could have easily mailed my Christmas card at the post office to have the postmark on my Christmas cards, but I decided to go and experience the area, prompted by a recent article in “Northside Woman.” The post office provided holiday cheer with pens taped to fake poinsettias, a Christmas tree and the highly coveted “Christmas greetings from Bethlehem” rubber stamps. None of my fellow customers seemed jolly; the dear postal worker was patient as I tried to decide which postage stamp would become the perfect touch to my envelopes. I chose a wreath stamp, although, looking back, Madonna and child would have been more appropriate. Onward I went to another counter to rubber stamp my envelopes and periodically look over my shoulder to see how my table mate was crafting hers.   

There have been quite a lot of experiences since September. Not one of these moments was costly, extravagant, or time-consuming except maybe the interrogation about coconut and the stamp decision, but oh well.

With the coming new year, I encourage you to try. Try something new, go somewhere new. Your list need not be as lengthy as mine, but you never know, you might just have a good laugh, a good cry or just a bit more confidence.

Please share your experiences with me, if you’d like. I have more to accomplish before next Sept. when I just might be able to finally say “I rode the Ferris wheel”.

There will be 366 days in 2020. Make them count.

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