Epic Epicness

When Kamel and I went on a hot air balloon ride over Napa with our friends Margaret and Jeff the term Epic Epicness was coined. I’m pretty sure I said it about mm… 5,000 times before the balloon touched down and then another bajillion times at brunch afterwards. When I got back to work the next week I told anyone who would listen that they, “Totally had to go! If you ever get a chance, you must take it! It was amazing! EPIC EPICNESS!”

Then this weekend while I was getting my haircut and chatting with my fab stylist, Dionne (who has known me longer than Kamel has), about being a new mom and the experience of giving birth – I realized that I had the same exact feelings about pushing Gabe out of me as I did about the hot air balloon ride. I get that this kind of sounds like I’m comparing an amazing life experience to… a tourist attraction? But that is not where I’m going with this. I realized that paired with the idea of Adventure-ing is the discovery of each individuals own Epic Epicness(es).

In the car on the way home I started thinking about other Epic Epicness moments – the experiences where I had an out-of-body moment and thought to myself, “Oh my god. I am me doing _________ and it is SO FREAKING COOL! I can’t believe this is real!” or when I’ve had the overwhelming urge to tell everyone I see on the street about how awesome something was because theytotallyneedtodoittoo! OHMYGOD IT WAS SOEPICAHH!

So I decided to rate, in order of epicness, my Top 5 Epic Epicness Moments.

  1. Pushing Out Gabe
  2. Hot Air Balloon Ride in Napa
  3. Traveling alone in Paris/Bicycling in Barcelona (tied for 3rd)
  4. Driving from Illinois to Louisiana all night and going to Mardi Gras
  5. Surfing Lessons

And then I had Kamel make his own list – in order of epicness. He had a hard time with this initially because he felt like he hadn’t done anything REALLY cool. But that’s the whole thing – it doesn’t have to be giant, it can be whatever is epic to YOU, in your world! His list (after much debate):

  1. Everything involved in caring for my own child
  2. Finally visiting Skywalker Ranch
  3. Biking through Barcelona
  4. First time seeing Yosemite Valley with Lauren
  5. Butterflies at Chichen Itza

Do you have a Top 5 Epic Epicness? Even if you don’t have 5 do you have a top 3? A number 1? I believe that every single one of us has done something worth getting excited about, something they thought they would never do, something they not-so-secretly give themselves cool points for. What are yours?

35 thoughts on “Epic Epicness”

  1. 1. My wedding ceremony.
    2. Reading an excerpt of my novel live at Kettle of Fish in New York (by invitation!).
    3. My callback closed-door audition for Sunday in the Park with George in high school.
    4. Spontaneous 15 course tasting menu at Travail.
    5. The first time I baked bread from scratch.

  2. 1. Spending two weeks in Scotland and Ireland/traveling to England all by myself

    2. Working on a dude ranch in the middle of nowhere, CO

    3. Driving solo from NH to CO (and back) in college… in a car with roll down windows and no CD player, and NO GPS (or smart phone). I did it with a Road Atlas.

    4. Allowing myself to fall madly in love, shatter, and move out while learning that love is amazing but cannot fix all the things. And that that is ok. (Does this count? I feel like it should)

    5. Having a friend challenge me to getting outside of my comfort zone and do a New Experience Challenge – I have to do/try/see something new at least once a month (activity, location, experience, food, etc)… and so far I’ve hit every month since September.

    I agree with Beth! Lauren your list is awesome!

  3. What a great list! Hopefully the top five will always be evolving and changing through the years, but here’s mine:

    1. Studying at Oxford
    2. Wandering around Istanbul
    3. Running around the lake in my hometown
    4. Drinking on a rooftop bar in Dakar
    5. Watching the stars out the back windshield of a friend’s car.

    1. That is exactly my goal – keep the list rotating and awesome. I wrote in a list-maker thingy kept in the cloud on my phone so I can keep revisiting it here and there. Pats on the bike when the daily grind can get a bit tedious is important i think. We are Epic!!

  4. In no specific order:
    -living in Barcelona (that city is magic)
    -learning to draw blood from a cow /succeeding at performing surgery (small) / living at a farm / assisting during cow’s births. It is really impressive to see… kind of a miracle.
    -succeeding at making macarons
    -passing the official exam of Dutch as a second language (it felt like a huge accomplishment)
    -whale watching and hanging out with boobie birds (the dancing blue feeted cormoran-like birds that only live in certain Pacific islands).

  5. 1 getting married, which got me to…
    2 son born, daughter born (tied for 2nd)
    3 arrival of my grandson
    4 our three continent trip (Europe, Africa, Asia)
    5 directing Obama’s first and second election. And doing it flawless both times!

  6. 1. Making arrangements to finish law school remotely so I could pursue my dream, decidedly non-legal career
    2. Organizing and financing a research trip to Paris, Morocco (Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez), and Spain (Granada, Madrid)
    3. Speaking with an enemy of the Moroccan government — a woman activist who is looking to reform divorce rights for women (we had to meet one of her cohorts at a gas station and walk several blocks to her apartment to make sure we weren’t being followed/watched) while on that trip
    4. Being a contestant on Jeopardy
    5. Initiating a long overdue breakup and realizing I get to have another first kiss.

  7. 1. Getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower and drinking champagne as the sun set over Paris.
    2. Getting myself to Paris on the must glorious Solo Adventure of my life.
    3. Moving to Chicago, jobless & apartmentless and surviving. (Now have job & apt.)
    4. Becoming a licensed Realtor in 2 states.
    5. The last sunset we watched before we left San Francisco from Hawk Hill in Marin.

    I love your list, and am continuously so inspired by the things you do. 🙂

  8. Your list is awesome and makes me think that I should come up with my own list of Epic Epicness! But for now, I will just say that going skydiving is definitely one experience that would make it onto my hypothetical list. It was incredible.

  9. This is a great idea! Mine:
    1) Climbing up Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica
    2) Parasailing in Key West
    3) Surfing in Hawaii
    4) Getting married
    5) Moving to my current city with no friends and no job, just so I could be closer to my now-husband.

  10. This is making me happy today, my first day back to work. I sadly can’t think of many things for myself….I have trouble trying new things and getting outside my comfort zone (BUT! This is the year I’m working on that!). So, I’ll just list 3:

    1) Buying a house. STILL can’t believe we pulled that one off.
    2) Going paddle boarding in Hawaii
    3) Spending a week in Riga, Latvia with a friend, and putting my toes in the Baltic Sea.

  11. Yay! I love the epic epicness. Here are mine, in no particular order:

    1. Making a road trip back home to visit my family by myself while singing lots of 2000’s pop. I drove 10 hours alone and didn’t crash or fall asleep!
    2. Paris…just. Paris.
    3. My solo adventure in NYC
    4. The time at Warped Tour 2005 when my best friend and I shared our pizza on a picnic blanket with the guys from Motion City Soundtrack.
    5. Sitting 3 hours for a tattoo that really means something to me. Exhilarating and cathartic in a way I can’t explain!

  12. Oh this is going to be hard! Lets see…
    1. Giving birth to Penelope
    2. Selling everything I owned & moved to Austin
    3. My ability to continue with school even though I want to quit every semester.
    4. Surfing in Tofino, Canada
    I think being a Mom in general is pretty freakin Epic!

  13. You and Kamel have some pretty awesome epic epicness happening between the two of you. Love all these lists! Mine, in unranked order (like Beth, I can’t rank ’em, like apples and oranges):

    1.) Walking across a frozen river all alone in my woods
    2.) Every new, crazy animal or bird I’ve met, held and fed for the first time at the wildlife rescue center where I volunteer. Foxes, pelicans, loons, owls.
    3.) Biking along the Loire River in France for a week.
    4.) Joe and I finding ourselves surrounded by howling coyotes in the emptiness of Death Valley under the full moon.
    5.) The first time I swam in the ocean, the same night I discovered the “beach sparkles” that pop in the wet sand after dark. They’re like my lodestone now.

    Aww, now I’m full of good memories. Thanks for posting this, Lauren!

  14. I love everyone’s lists…heres mine:

    1. Finishing residency and passing my general surgery board exam to finally (after 13 years of college, med school and residency) be working at my dream job!
    2. Summiting Kilimanjaro.
    3. Trekking the “circuit” in Torres del Paine park in Patagonia with a terrible cold, but still managing the 90 miles in 7 days.
    4. Moving to Alaska
    5. Following the Your de France in an RV for two weeks.

  15. 1) Seeing the first picture of my nephew. Bc I completely stopped traffic and broke down in tears.

    2) Two week road trip in Mexico to see Mayan ruins and beautiful beaches with my BFFL. No reservations just us and our maps. Bc It was a truly spiritual experience.

    3) Driving from MIA to SF… and then back to MIA 4 years later. Bc I closed a cycle.

    4) Tattooing a person for the first time. My dad 🙂 Bc holy motherfuck I finally did it.

    5) Kissing my gf for the first time. Bc I had never felt that way and it shocked me.

    6) My cousin’s wedding. Bc it was huge and where did my emotional breakdown come from?

  16. O.K. here is my list, even though it may be corny and they kind of moosh together in ranking, so I put them in order of when they happened .
    1. Realizing after the first date I was going to marry your mother.
    2. The entire experience of seeing you being born. (this is one of the few memories that I can recall from the moment I was called when your mom started going in to labor until the day we left the hospital three days after you were born)
    3. Seeing the face of Kamel when you walked down the aisle at your wedding. Never in my life have I ever seen anyone so happy and proud. Also just being with you before we walked down the aisle.
    4. The birth of Gabe. What a cutie
    5. Knowing that every day of my married life I am living with my best friend.

    I said that it was a bit corny.

    Love you, GDB

  17. Everyone’s Epics are SO FREAKING EPIC!!!! I can’t get over it! Every time I read one I get a little rush of YEAH! And now I want to do all the things!

  18. Oooh I love these (also not in order, also still working on 5th..)

    1) Gorilla trek in Uganda, being 15 feet away from them, just… epic.
    2) Passing the Professional Engineering exam, not exciting to anyone else, but still wanted to shout from the rooftops
    3) Catering my friends’ wedding for 70, including the cake
    4) Buying a condo at 23 and making it a home

  19. Not sure if I know exactly how to measure epic epicness in terms of relative epicness when sometimes these things are apples and oranges. But let’s give it a go.

    1. Having my boy
    2. Getting the first sleep through the night after my boy was born
    3. Getting my PhD
    4. Road trip from London to Majorca including navigating through three countries/swapping sides of the road, two ferries, a hotel in Southern France overlooking lavender fields, finding Valdemosa, wandering orange groves and swimming at a topless beach on the Med.
    5. Coming home after 18 months of European/UK travelling and slotting back into my ‘old’ life/finding a new place for new self.

  20. 1 – Falling in love at first sight & marrying my husband (tied)
    2 – Visiting New Orleans
    3 – Student government in university – I did so many things there that are big on a personal level on their own but as a whole are really kind of amazing
    4 – Shooting a shotgun
    5 – (anticipated, but it’s two paycheques away so I’m going to count it) Hitting a big (to me) savings goal for the first time ever

  21. I love this! My list isn’t ranked so in no particular order, my Top 5:

    – Skydiving
    – The first time I completed a run down the mountain snowboarding without falling
    – Dancing by the beach in Brazil to a local band, being watched by locals under the stars on a summer night/dancing samba in a Brazilian bar in NYC and having the owner think I was Brazilian/not believe that I didn’t learn to dance there
    – my wedding day. Seriously, it was like I was high the entire day (in the best way possible)
    – standing on the Great Wall of China

  22. ahhhh!! Omigosh I can’t even LIE and say this list is easy to keep at 5. But I like that it forced me to think about the absolute top of tops. In no particular order:

    1. stopping a young woman from killing herself. with my words and my mind over several weeks but specifically one night with my hands.

    2. seeing Maria growing up. from a baby in my arms to a sister that is now taller than me.

    3. choosing a nonprofit in South Africa, raising money, going there, taking charge, and placing children onto different paths towards better lives (there could be a top 5 list within this trip!)

    4. doing 5 solo paragliding flights in the Drakensberg mountains

    5. choosing to be vegetarian and sticking with it. for my own reasons. and owning it.

  23. I love this idea, Lauren!

    1. teaching myself basic French from books, tapes, and re-watching Buffy with French sound on, in preparation of my year in France.
    2. living in France for a year immersed in the culture, existing completely outside my comfort zone, furthering my language skills. i’ve always wanted to be bi-lingual and it was the most amazing thing to come back home and realize that my skills had improved to the point of being halfway fluent.
    3. having a pagan wedding ceremony on a mountaintop that was so very us. it was really meaningful to share this with our families and have them be so into it.
    4. traveling the UK with my husband.
    5. starting a theatre company fresh out of college with my best friend.

  24. Oh this is so fun. I didn’t think I was going to get to five things but then I started reading everyone’s list and they made me think of so many things–now I don’t know how to choose five! But here goes:

    1. walking down the aisle and exiting our reception
    2. watching the west wing with white house staff
    3. going to a bollywood awards show in mumbai
    4. anytime i have climbed to the top of something and looked out over a valley and seen how far up i went through my own power
    5. infinity pirouettes–a term i just made up for those rare times when you are so on balance that it feels like you could turn forever.

    1. Isn’t it interesting though how many responses revolve around travel? I was trying to NOT just do that, because we have amazing moments in day-to-day life too. But somehow, it feels like being in another country (another world) just slows things down and brings the moment into focus for me.

      1. Maybe because we aren’t doing the normal things. We don’t have dishes in the sink calling our names or work or dinner to be made or anything – we’re allowed to be in pure adventure-land.

      2. I think you’re also more likely to do cool things while traveling, because it might be the only time you’re in a place. It’s like how people who live in a city sometimes never do/see the things that city is famous for and that all tourists will do/see. So while it might be just as epic a thing to do a bike tour in my city as a bike tour in London, I will probably never do a bike tour here because I live here.

  25. Here’s what I’ve got:

    1) My entire relationship with my husband
    2) Backpacking along the Camino Inka through the Andes and arriving at Machu Picchu at dawn. Epic is the perfect word.
    3) Getting my PhD.
    4) Horseback riding through the Pampas in Argentina
    5) Being able to take my mom to Mexico for her 60th birthday. It was a trip with my mom, my aunt, and my sister. Pretty special.

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