I always try to knock off at least 1 or 2 things from my Life List each year. This year, I checked off three things from my Life List. The fun thing about my Life List is that some items can be planned for (many of which require travel to a specific location, but not all), while others cannot necessarily be planned for and happen semi-spontaneously. For the latter, these are things that do require a little bit of putting oneself into a situation where its possible, or "building a door" if opportunity isn't knocking. For example, it is not likely I will ever be able to accomplish #93, photograph an endangered species, while sitting on my couch, unless the world's population of chiweiners rapidly declines and Carly finds herself among the few remaining. So, without further ado, here is a recap of my Life List accomplishments for 2014.
#76 on my Life List was to see a lunar eclipse. It's not an earth-shattering adventure like many of my Life List activities, but things somehow I have managed to miss them, either because I didn't realize when they were emminent, or because I made other plans that interfered with gazing up into the heavens to catch these stunning events. Finally, on April 14th, Jaiman and I laid down an old comforter on our driveway and watched as the moon turned a fantastic red. And while my camera may not be ideal for this sort of photography, nor was I prepared with something to keep my camera still, I managed to take a few decent pictures.
When we went to Hawaii with Jaiman's family in July, I made a point to book us an excursion to swim with giant sea turtles. You never can tell how well a nature-centric activity might go, but my experience was one of the most exhilarating memories of 2014; far more than I could have asked for. When the boat stopped, everyone had the option to get floaties or just hop right in, and I decided to hop right in, so I ended up being the first one off the boat. While I floated, watching Jaiman and his family and the other passengers prepare to hop off the boat, I heard a sudden, loud exhale directly behind me. Confused, because there were no other people around me to my knowledge, I turned to see a giant sea turtle had come up to the surface to check me out. I pushed myself away a little bit, having been warned that it was illegal to touch the gentle creatures, and gave him some space, which he didn't really need because he dug back down into the water immediately. I threw my head under to watch him as he majestically swam away. We had other near encounters, but none quite like that. It was a very special moment for me, and completed #110 on my life list.
One of the stranger things on my life list is a result of feeling "jipped" or "un-Arizonan" for having never seen a local beast (or nuisance, depending on who you ask) that it seems like just about everyone who has lived in the area for any significant amount of time has seen. After an exhaustingly fun holiday gathering, on Christmas Day, my sister was throwing out dog poop at my parents' house, and came back in the house frantic and yelling at me to come quick. I knew within milliseconds that she must have spotted a javelina, knowing how much I desperately have wanted to see one not in a zoo. I reached the garage and sure enough, at the end of the driveway, there were a number of them, adults, babies and everything in between. A sounding, actually, that's what a group of javelinas is called. They looked lost, and didn't move quickly, but Dad was there rather quickly to remind us to keep our distance because they could charge at any moment. My Mom joined us with her phone and snapped a few pictures of the adults and babies from the end of the driveway. We watched in amazement as the creatures walked around the col-de-sac before wandering away via the neighbor's house. And with that, I got a little Christmas miracle to check off #68 on my life list.
Now, of my 150 Life List activities, I have 37 items checked off, leaving me 113 adventures, sights, activities and fear-facing options available to attempt in the coming years. I can't wait to see what items I will check off in 2015!