My Year Of “Yes”
While 2018 definitely had its fair share of lows, it was an incredible year overall. In the beginning of the year, I decided to try and do more exciting things—to really go out there and live life. With this mindset, I was given more opportunities to experience some amazing, life-changing things. I was able to cross off quite a few items from my bucket list.
Money has never been something I’ve had plenty of, but I decided to use what little I had saved and stop worrying so much about the future. I decided to live more in the moment. “Everything will work out” has been my motto this year. Here are some of the things I was able to experience because I decided to say “yes” instead of “what if.”
It’s no secret that I love concerts. This year, I was able to go to five shows that were all fantastic. I decided to spend the money and get floor seats for Panic! at the Disco. They have been one of my favorite bands since the release of their first album 13 years ago, when I was 14 years old. I was worried about the cost, but when Brendon Urie walked through the aisle on the floor while singing and hugged me, it became worth every cent.
I was also able to go to the Taylor Swift reputation Tour, which was the biggest concert productions I have ever seen. It felt like I was at one of those shows you only see on TV. Apart from those expensive concerts, I also saw Jack Johnson with both of my sisters, Paramore for my birthday, and Fall Out Boy for the seventh time. It was a great year of music.
Back in March, I was able to go to my first ever Comic Con, and boy was it a whirlwind of emotions! This is probably one of my favorite stories to tell. I had finally convinced my family to let me buy tickets—I needed someone to drive me. It was an hour away, so we decided to stay in a hotel for one night. I was only able to go Saturday or Sunday, and the primary reason I was desperate to go was to meet Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter). A couple weeks before the convention, it was announced that his schedule had changed and he would only be there Friday night. James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George) were set to take his place over the weekend, and while I was ecstatic to be able to meet them, I was upset about having to miss Matthew Lewis.
Well, I tweeted about it and he somehow ended up seeing it. He followed me and private messaged me, apologizing. I died. I saw the message and thought it was a fan account at first, but then I saw the little blue check and realized it was actually him. I was able to have an entire conversation with him and he said he’d leave me an autographed photo with the twins. He did, too! I got the photo when we first arrived, and then we went about the rest of the day.
My sister and I got pictures with David Harbour (Stranger Things), Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride), and Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things, The Goonies). I cried waiting to meet Sean, pulled it together for the photo, and then cried again after. He plays Sam in The Lord of the Rings, who has always been my favorite character.
Then, at the very end of the day, we got a picture with the Phelps twins. They talked to us and one of them actually knelt down beside me. They were incredibly nice and as soon as we left the photo area, I lost it. I mean, crying so hard I was embarrassed. I’ve been obsessed with Harry Potter since I was like 9 years old. Meeting them was a huge deal to me. It was definitely one of the best days of my life.
I’ll keep this one brief because I spoke about it more in my last article, 363 Days Of Reading. In saying yes, and not worrying about the future, I started my own website about books (Functionally Fictional). I was also able to meet Victoria Aveyard, author of Red Queen, and Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters. Red Queen is one of my favorite series—has been for years—so it was exciting to be able to meet Aveyard after the final book’s release! There were also a few times where I was able to spend a few extra dollars to buy signed copies of new releases, simply because I said “yes.”
In being more open to things and being more optimistic, my writing has grown into more than just a hobby. I have participated in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, which was encouraging and helpful. I began writing a new book that I’m almost done with the first draft of, and I love it. When a friend mentioned some anthologies she thought I’d be interested in, I didn’t let my fear control my response. I said “yes” and now I have a publishing contract to write short stories in two different books
Coffee House Writers
Even my work here with Coffee House Writers has been impacted by this new mindset. I am now one of the C.O.O.s and the Advertising Supervisor for the team and website because I wasn’t too scared to take opportunities presented to me. Coffee House Writers has given me ways to grow as a leader and a writer, as well as the chance to be a part of a caring and encouraging community. I am so incredibly grateful to be on this team and for everyone who is involved. My life is truly better because of you.
My point is this: Don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities and experiences. Say “yes” more. I did, and I was able to have one of the best years because of it.