Well, 2017 has left the building and in walks a shining new year – 2018! I’m feeling very optimistic about the upcoming year. However, I need to take this time to reflect back on my time in 2017. It was an ever-changing year for me, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I had many ups and downs and I will have more in 2018. It is how we deal with these things that is important. Nearing the end of 2017, I experienced many new things in a small amount of time. I stepped out my comfort zone and I took to things that I would not have normally done. This was due to boredom, curiosity, and the yearn for adventure. Once I got on that kick of traveling and being more independent, it simply flourished.

One of the first new things that I did was meeting new people. I basically started the year with a new job, but that really isn’t what I mean by going out of my way to meet new people. We have all joined a dating app at one point in our lives for whatever reason, but I found that it was a great way to simply meet great and interesting people! I found great friends that are there for me even if they aren’t living in the same town. This was a new idea for me because I’m an introvert by nature. I yearn for my “me time” and love the lazier side of life as I do the adventurous. So meeting these people was not only great, but it was out of my comfort zone which was something that I had really not done before. It was fun going upstate or traveling to meet people or having people actually want to see me. This goes for people that I did not meet online, but that lived in my town as well. This was one lesson that I learned last year, that people matter and I need them.

I needed people for more than one reason. One, loneliness can hit at the worst times and when it does it hits with vengeance. Two, I finally learned that because of loneliness and the fact that I was mostly making the loneliness happen by secluding myself, that I needed human interaction to survive. This sounds like common sense, but trust me, being an actual active introvert – it is harder said than done. And lastly, I needed people to do fun things with! It was one thing to be adventurous and get myself out there to see new things, but it is an entirely new thing to experience something new with another human being. So overall, allowing people into my life was an amazing step for my own personal growth.

However, it was doing things alone that made me feel the most strengthened as an individual. In my opinion, we (humans) tend to lean towards other people sometimes as a crutch. We need someone there at all times to function and if we don’t have someone there at all times, we fall short at even allowing ourselves to participate in different activities. An example of this is saying you want to attend a concert, but you have no one to go with… So, at the end of the day, you don’t go. This is what I mean by having other people hold you back. I’ve obviously led that life for a very long time. 2017 was a year that I broke this trend. A couple of events I go to or wanted to go to last year was Fear Con, Comic Con, and an archaeology dig near my home town. All were events that were completely “up in the air” if I was going with anyone or if I had to trek it out by myself. Things have a way of working themselves out, but out of the four events, I did go to one by myself. Out of the three, it was probably the most satisfying and most scary one to attend by my lonesome.

My archaeology dig experience was incredible. It was in Nine Mile Canyon about an hour from where I live. I have to say that it was something I never envisioned me doing and it very well might be something that I never get to do again. I was very fortunate in that I got to attend and I was even more fortunate for the great group of people that I met.

The dig was in September and the only reason I got a spot was because my mom mentioned to me one day that they were looking for volunteers in the newspaper. I sent in an application fully understanding that I probably wouldn’t receive a spot since there were so many people wanting to go especially young students. Except I did receive a spot in the first week of the dig. It was the nicest possible weekend it could have possibly been weather wise. We were to camp out two nights staying Friday until Sunday morning.

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This was our campsite. It was beautiful. This was an entirely new experience for me especially because I was alone. Yes, people knew I had gone, not that they had any idea where the excavation site was, but it was still scary being alone. The hard fact of the matter is on the way there, I did almost turn back. During the roughly 45 minute drive to get to the coordinates I was just gathering more and more anxiety about what I was doing. I felt that if I got lost, I couldn’t call anyone because I didn’t have service, that it would be too embarrassing if I arrived late, or even that I had been tricked and there really wasn’t an actual site in the first place. Yeah, the fun thoughts, anxiety will do that to you. But I didn’t turn around and I arrived.

Arriving was terrifying, but fulfilling. It felt like I had accomplished something because you know what? I showed up. I set up my tent, I met the surrounding people who were already there, and we had dinner that night and went to bed to start the excavation in the morning. The excavation site and it’s workings were amazing. We started from literally nothing, just solid ground that they concluded was a possible site for near by Indians to get together for social gatherings.

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This photo was the morning of excavation around 7 or 8 AM. The site looked just like any other patch of dirt, ground, or weeds so it was amazing that anything was even underneath it. We did find beads, stone balls, types of granite and rock that were used to paint… And rocks, we found so many rocks. Over the span of two full days we dug for roughly an overall sixteen-eighteen hours. The last day looked awesome because it was just a statement of what we had achieved.

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Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to experience this with. I did not know anyone personally on the trip, but we all took each other in like we were already good friends. It was wonderful just meeting a group of people that took everyone in like a part of their family to learn and experience something just like you. This is my group photo (with me on the bottom left in front). I learned so much about archaeology and what people in this career field do and go through daily. It is hard work both on the back muscles and having to deal with the weather. I was lucky enough to be blessed with blue skies and a hot sun this first week of September. Afterward, we did mostly stay in touch with each other and I did get to see photos of the end of excavation which was pretty cool. I actually returned a week or two later for an event and to see how the excavation was going, so that was neat as well. If you ever do get a chance to do this, I highly recommend it.

Chances only come around once in a live a time and I say that we should take each one that comes our way. It’s so important not to lose those chances that are given to us and regret it later which is what I knew would happen if I wouldn’t have gone. Take it from me, your friendly everyday introvert, and do the things you want to do now no matter what age you are!

Which brings me back to the three events that I wanted to do in 2017. Comic Con was next on this list. After my archaeology dig, time just flew by. I had events planned almost weekly if not monthly that both cost money and time. Yet, I was not missing Comic Con for anything that life was going to throw at me. Again, up until last year, I had let so many things pass me by with so many dumb excuses. Excuses such as, “I’m too busy with work”, “there is always next year”, or “I have no one to go with me”. These excuses held me back so bad in the previous years. Thinking back on this now, I cannot believe all of the things I didn’t do because of my own insecurities, money, and other people. The same is to be said with Comic Con. I had wanted to go every year they had it in Salt Lake City, but I always let it slide by no matter what celebrity was attending or how much money I had to spend. This had to stop and in 2017 I made it stop.

Comic Con was THE BEST event I attended in 2017. It was worth every penny, it was worth all the time spent walking, and it was worth every second being around other people in lines. I met every person I wanted to, I received every autograph that I wanted to, and I just had an amazing time attending with my brother. I did get my brother hooked on conventions, so if anything good came out of it that was it! Getting to geek out with a bunch of random people was the best feeling in the world and I think Utah has one of the best conventions there is to offer. Below is a photo of me and my brother, the very first stop we made at Comic Con! We both jumped out of comfort zones for this one!

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Throughout the three-day weekend, I got to meet Elijah Wood, Dick Van Dyke, John Barrowman, Christopher Loyd, Richard Dean Anderson, and Jon Bernthal plus many others! It was completely outstanding. I can’t imagine there being a better Comic Con than this one, but I know there is more to come. If you’re a nerd like me, it was a great way to spend a three day weekend.

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The photo above is my wall of fame from 2017. I hope to add to it, but it is a highlight wall and a reminder to always get out of my comfort zone. I do have to mention that one of my favorite buys from Comic Con 2017 was my Anton Yelchin signature. It was expensive, yes, but oh so worth it. If anyone is interested in seeing more photos of my adventures I do have Instagram (kristenisclever1). I simply don’t want to overwhelm my blog with photos with no explanation. I can say that I am completely addicted to conventions and I will continue going year to year!

Speaking of conventions, another one that I am a huge fan of is Fear Con. Personally, I love the horror genre whether it is in novel form or movie form, I simply adore it. Some of my favorites are Edgar Allen Poe (obviously), the Hannibal series, Lovecraft, Susan Hill’s works, and Stephen King upon so many more talented artists and wonderful stories. Horror seems to be a growing fandom and I absolutely love that, but what I really love about it is the story telling element. I haven’t ever really got into the knitty-gritty about why I love horror so much, maybe for another post, but I do love watching both the good and the bad! Fear Con is a two day weekend of being around horror fans, cosplay of our favorite villains, and being able to participate in scary (but safe) scenarios!

Last October the theme of Fear Con was Horror Re-imagined which was an amazing concept to see regular horror ideas transformed into new ideas by fans. A new thing they did last year was they added The Vampire Circus which was what you could expect: fire breathers, acrobats, body contortionists, comedians, and even people who were a very good aim with crossbows. Another new experience they added was a new twist on the Haunted Experience. This time around, VIP and Gold pass holders got to experience a hostage situation. It is much harder to explain rather than it was to simply experience it, but I will do my best. They blind folded the participates with masks so we could not see where we were headed and they actually had us ride on a bus to that location. Then we were walked to the location where we were given our vision back and led down stairs into darkness. We were then left by ourselves (in our group) to fend for ourselves and figure out what we had to do. We had to find a key, unlock a cage while a man with a chainsaw and a wolf mask and a man with a pig mask and a cleaver went around as threats. Speaking of this… I was the first one dragged off by the pig man… Not a very fond moment ha-ha. I simply watched as my fellow group members watched me be dragged away to the start of the maze.

I did eventually find my way back to them to simply get dragged off by the pig man with another girl once more! Basically what I am saying is, I was the first to die in this horror story! I guess you could say I died twice in the range of 10 minutes! When we finally got out of that stage, we were to climb stairs and then we actually got separated (on purpose) into pairs of two and led straight into pitch blackness. This was the worst, most scary part of the event in my opinion. It was pitch black, I was with a dude that I didn’t really even meet, I was just put in a two person group with, and we had to walk our way apparently to somewhere for however long to get out of the blackness. We eventually, apparently, reached more people and we followed the rest of the way out and successfully completed the Haunted Experience. Now, it might sound weird to be put in this situation, but it was absolutely great fun. I might be weird to think that being scared is fun, but I loved it and would very much love to do something like it again every Halloween.

This kind of experience that is put on by the conventions is what makes it worth going to in general. However, my next favorite part is simply the people. Whether it be Comic Con or Fear Con, you know you are surrounded by people who have the same interests and likes as you do at least to an extent of the convention. So, socializing in this manner is the absolute best because everyone is so genuine and nice. I actually prefer it to regular life because of the people. The cosplayers are another favorite part. It takes guts, style, and creativity to dress up for these events. Some people do it for a living and I praise them! Personally, I am not too into dressing up myself, but I love giving credit where credit is due and I love taking photos with them. It not only makes them happy that people want photos, but it makes me happy to have gotten to meet them and admire there work! This next photo is a picture from Fear Con of all of our favorite horror movie villains.

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They are just a bunch of fans that were dressed up for the event! I love it so much! It was just another tradition that I had such a great time attending in 2017!

While I did so many cool things this year, obviously some not mentioned here, I ended 2017 in such a wonderful way. I had bought tickets to the Zelda Symphony for me and my mother in November for the date of December 30th. Unfortunately, my mother got sick and wasn’t able to go, but my cousin went instead. I would have loved to experienced with my mom, but family was still there! It was amazing. We had second row seating to a beautiful orchestra of one of our favorite video games. The Legend of Zelda holds a special place in my heart as I grew up playing the video games with my dad. I still love it to this day and am a bit of a geek about it. I just think that was the best way to end off my 2017 and it was completely unplanned to do so. However, I wouldn’t have changed how I ended it in any way.

I just hope that I can make 2018 as great as the last few month of my 2017. I pushed myself out of self-created comfort zones and experienced so many wonderful things, met so many wonderful people, and am in such a good place to start a new year. I am blessed to have what I do have, the job that I have, the family, friends, and animals that I have. I just want to start this new year on a good note and look to the positive side of life.

Here is to more traveling, more adventure, and more extrovert ideals in my introvert life! Happy 2018!

p.s.

I am looking forward to blogging more and focusing on how I can be more proactive in my creativity. Look forward to more in 2018 as I intend to continue to strengthen my writing abilities and hopefully expand my readers as well! To anyone reading, I am so glad that you have followed my page up to this point and I hope you continue to do so! I find my life mundane and boring, but hey, I’ve got to keep record somehow! If I entertain some people on the way, wonderful!

(: – Kristen.

 

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