Johna posing with two costumed characters from DreamWorks' Trolls.

Living in the Moment: 2018 Edition

I can’t believe another year has come and gone. I turned 32 during the summer, but I didn’t let my age or adulting get in the way of having FUN. Sure, 2018 had its ups and downs, but I am choosing to focus on the moments that personally made me feel incredibly happy, like “a kid in a candy store” kind of happy.

A close friend and I were talking about how 2018 zipped by so quickly and we were trying to figure out our biggest accomplishment of the year. I couldn’t come up with anything. It actually worried me because I couldn’t summarize what my year was about. 

She messaged me a few days ago and helped me by pointing out my major accomplishment of 2018 was living in the moment and going for it. That’s definitely me in a nutshell, especially when I look back at the crazy last-minute one-day trips I made to California and saying yes to opportunities I had never even dreamed of doing.

Since I have a habit of making lists, I figured I’d do one last list for 2018 and jot down my experiences:

  • I started collecting more enamel pins this year. I have over 200. Yeah, that’s a lot.

  • I watched Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card in theaters back in January. It was a great way to kick off the year and get back into a show I hadn’t watched since high school.

  • I made a custom Dave Filoni Funko Pop! It was the first time I had attempted a project of that nature. It reminded me that when I put my mind to it, I can do pretty awesome things.

  • I went to San Francisco for the first time with my mom. We visited Lucasfilm and went to the major tourist locations. I love my mom, so I can’t wait to do more traveling with her in the near future.

  • I interviewed Dave Filoni on stage at Lucasfilm after we watched the first four episodes of the second half of Star Wars Rebels season four. Coolest experience ever. If I could do it again, I would!

  • I went to Walt Disney Studios in California and watched the final episodes of Star Wars Rebels with some of my closest friends. Talk about amazing. Afterward, I ate pancakes with the Perales family. It was the best way to end the night.

  • For May the Fourth, I went to the Disney Store in Times Square to buy Ashley Eckstein’s new book and meet Ashley Taylor in person. I adore them so much. They’re both such lovely and inspiring people. 

  • My mom, brother, and I moved into a “new” apartment in May. Quotes around “new” because it’s my uncle’s old apartment, so it’s not all that new. It’s nice to have more space in a building that isn’t falling apart, though. 

  • A close friend (the same awesome friend who messaged me) and I went to the Downton Abbey exhibit here in New York City. I know Star Wars rules over my life, but it was fun to do something outside of that fandom. We can’t wait to see the Downton Abbey movie in 2019!

  • I bought Running with Lions by Julian Winters at BookCon, and it changed me in the best way. I wrote about my experience here.

  • Because of Running with Lions, I started reading more romance books. I discovered I love sports romances, mainly those pertaining to soccer, hockey, and maybe American football. I’m not a fan of the latter, but if it’s a good story, I don’t mind it. 

  • I watched the World Cup and made some pretty awesome predictions. Sadly, the team I wanted to win lost in the final match. I’m still bitter about the loss.
  • I went to Puerto Rico with my mom and brother for the first time in years. I had the best time visiting familiar spots and seeing new ones. Plus, the food was mind-blowingly amazing.

  • I watched my first New York City Football Club (NYCFC) game at Yankee Stadium. It was so much fun. The team scored a goal toward the end of the game and the crowd went wild. I love the energy that courses through the air when those moments happen. 

  • I did the craziest thing and went to San Diego for a day just to see the Star Wars: The Clone Wars panel at SDCC. The announcement blew our minds! I also met so many amazing people in person for the first time. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it.

  • I went to see Us the Duo in concert. I also purchased the VIP package, so I got to take a photo with Michael and Carissa. They’re such sweet and insanely talented people.

  • The biggest change happened in September when I shaved my hair! I was so tired of my long hair. Since I wasn’t doing anything with it, I chopped it and buzzed it off. Best decision!

  • I attended Flame Con and Keystone Comic Con for the first time. I was also invited to be on a panel at Keystone with Zoe Hinton from the Star Wars Geek Girl podcast. She gave me a Captain Rex helmet she made from scratch! It was such a thoughtful and wonderful gift.

  • I love Star Wars, but sometimes, I like to branch out and focus on the many other shows and movies I enjoy. So, I started writing for Culturess as a way to share my non-Star Wars thoughts. Here’s my author page.

  • I went to California (again!) for the Star Wars Resistance press day. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the voice actors as well as the executive producers of the show. I wrote up my experience here.

  • I attended New York Comic Con and did so many amazing things, including seeing Guillermo del Toro and Diego Luna at the 3 Below panel. I was literally in the first row. I desperately wanted to give them a hug, but that would have been a big no-no. Here’s hoping I can make that happen one day.

  • I started writing my own novel! How crazy is that?! I have the outline all set, and I know exactly what happens in the middle and the end. It’s just hard to get all the words down. It’s a slow process, but I’m doing it!

  • I was interviewed for the 365 Days of Star Wars Women project. I feel so incredibly honored to be included in such an amazing initiative and to be included among women I adore and admire.

  • A LEGO Star Wars character was named after me and my podcast co-host, Aaron! The character’s name is Johnair and he appeared in an episode of LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars. Knowing this detail exists still brings the biggest smile to my face.

So yeah, I’ve had a pretty outstanding year. I can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring. I hope to continue to live in the moment and go for it when opportunities present themselves. After all, life’s too short to say no.

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Featured Photo and Photo Gallery: BlueJaigEyes

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