About a month ago I realized that, in order to have adventures, I had to first say yes to those adventures and so, for the past month, I’ve approached most opportunities with an open heart and an open mind and I’ve tried to push myself to say yes in situations I usually wouldn’t.
Two Saturdays ago I was at work in a field filled with howitzers at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Va. Howitzers, for those that don’t know, are basically giant guns, or cannons, that fire 105mm rounds. They blow shit up. They’re loud. They’re incredibly powerful and amazing and I will jump at the chance to go watch them fire any day of the week, even on a Saturday.
I was about to leave for the day, having gotten my fill of howitzer firing and having completed the task I’d gone out there for when one of the people in charge asked me if I’d ever fired a howitzer.
“No,” I said.
“You want to?” he asked.
Without missing a single beat I said yes, I would love to fire a howitzer, that it would absolutely make my day if I got to fire a howitzer and so we went to the closest gun and I got all set up with the proper safety gear and I got all excited and freaked out and had a moment of HOLY FUCK THIS IS MY LIFE and then I pulled the lanyard to fire a howitzer and it was maybe the coolest thing I’ve ever gotten to do at my job.
I’m the one in the middle of the photo, standing next to the gun (not the one holding the round and not the one plugging his ears), first with the excited and suspicious face on and then with the face of someone trying very hard to pull a lanyard hard enough to avoid falling over like I’d seen approximately three other people, all family members, do earlier that day and twisting my whole body with the effort of it.
It was amazing. There’s this incredible jolt of noise and power that courses through the Earth when a howitzer is fired and as many times as I’ve seen these massive systems fire, it’s still incredible to be the one responsible for actually firing it. It’s crazy to think that all that noise and smoke and power came from a tug of my hand and a twist of my body.
All this to say, I’m doing things.
Someone asked me, when she discovered Andrew would be gone for so long, what my goals were, what I hoped to accomplish during his absence. It’s something I’d thought about before, but it reenforced the realization that this time I have on my own needs to end with a list of accomplishments. I want to be able to cite a handful of really awesome things, things I’m proud of, that have been accomplished while I’ve been on my own.
In two months I’ve rappelled off a tower, fired a howitzer (twice, actually) and taken the GRE. After this weekend, I’ll have completed my longest and toughest mud run to date, the Super Spartan, an 8 mile, 20 obstacle bear of a race. And there’s still 12 months to go.