‘If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them.’-Bob Dylan
I have never been much of a resolutions kind of person. As a kid, I loved New Years. My parents would throw a party, my friends and I would be upstairs listening to Mariah Carey, at 9 we would watch the ball drop in Times Square (we were in California) and toast with sparkling cider. It was fun, but even then I don’t recall setting out goals for the year ahead. This past year was different. I decided to live ‘Furiously Happy’ fully (see here) and this year has been nothing short of epic! Pulling together this post has highlighted all the things that I have done, the people I have met, the memories I lived (images of both things specifically mentioned and other cool things I experienced).
Living in Philadelphia, we had quite the exciting start to the year. The Eagles won the Super Bowl (the city may never recover) and my beloved Villanova Wildcats won the NCAA Basketball Championship. While I’m not the biggest football fan (and my favorite team is the 49ers), I had to go, mostly for my brother, and, partially, because it seemed like fun. It was. Over a million people turned out to celebrate and the sense of love and community was overwhelming! The celebration for Villanova was slightly smaller, but I met up with some dear friends (also Villanova alums) and we enjoyed celebrating our team at City Hall.
I have met a lot of cool people this year (more below), but one of the most meaningful was meeting Rick Allen from Def Leppard. I am not a big Def Leppard fan, I like ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ but that’s about it. But, when I struggled after high school, that week I couldn’t get off the couch, I watched a lot of VH1’s Behind the Music. The episodes going were Billy Idol and Def Leppard. It was the latter that stayed with me. Rick Allen, after their blockbuster debut, was in a horrific car wreck and lost his arm. As a drummer, this could have ended his career. But he persevered and adapted. The band became even more famous. It was his story that stayed with me. When I was having a hard time, my dad would always say remember all that Rick Allen (and Shania Twain but that story is for another day) overcame, you can do this! So on a cold day in January, I was able to tell Mr. Allen all that he meant to me. I cried and he made me a cool picture. I will treasure it always! He is also lovely, thank God or I would have cried for another reason!
I LOVE live theatre (I am my mother’s daughter) and living less than two hours from New York City, I decided to fully embrace the Broadway life. I am so glad I did! I drive up, spend the day or just an evening (finding cheap parking is not that hard and it’s actually less than Philadelphia), and see an amazing show. And I have…a lot! I have visited a seaside town in Maine, a courtroom in Alabama, a shoe factory in England, a small New Found Land town on America’s darkest day, returned to Hogwarts, and an evening with ‘The Boss,’ to name just a few. I have met sooooo many amazing people, both those on stage and fellow theatre goers. While some shows I loved more than others, none was wasted time. I also met people I admire or love. I remained calm when I met Joshua Jackson, who I have had a crush on since the Mighty Ducks (you should all watch him in The Affair), and Daniel Radcliffe. I was able to tell Bruce Springsteen (in one of the great live experiences of my life-you should watch his Netflix special) how much I admired him (he said, ‘Thank you!’). Bryan Cranston had a special message for my dad (who is a huge fan) and snapped a photo.Donna Murphy said she was so appreciative I came from Philadelphia to see her in Hello, Dolly. I also cried with the cast of Come from Away with the stories depicted in the show (seriously, this is one of the best shows I’ve seen. If it comes to your town, go. Immediately). This is not an exhaustive list (I saw a lot of shows, haha-that will come eventually), but these are the moments that stood out to me.
The pinnacle of my year has to be seeing Bob Dylan at the Beacon Theatre. I am a huge (!!!) Dylan fan, anyone who knows me will attest to this. I saw him last year and it was so good (it was my second time seeing him) that I would only see him again if he played ‘Like a Rolling Stone‘ or ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.’ I check his setlist periodically to see what he’s currently playing. Checking shortly before Thanksgiving and, to my literal shock, saw he was playing both songs! Unfortunately, due to his NYC run, it meant that I would have to go up to the city twice in two days (I had previously bought a ticket to see Joan Allen, Lucas Hedges, and Elaine May in The Waverly Gallery). But ‘furiously happy’ and he was performing my all time favorite songs. So I went up Black Friday to see the greatest American songwriter perform. I cried multiple times (I should probably note that I am a crier). At the end of the show, after a stunning version of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ I darted out to use the loo. I was on cloud nine already and was trying to beat the line to the ladies room. Because of this, I literally collided (well nearly) with SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY!!! I was so stunned, I think all I managed was a quick sorry, hi, and a smile. He was talking to his bodyguard, may have said hi, definitely smiled and nodded at me. I would like to think he appreciates that I did not make a huge deal so he could leave without notice. I immediately called my dad, a massive Beatles fan. He still cannot believe it. My brother said if I was going to now run into Elton John at Starbucks and while I was currently standing in a Starbucks, Elton was not there.
As Bob Dylan once said, ‘You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future.’