This Nova Scotian marked her 50th birthday with 50 firsts
Donna Hatt decided she would do 50 new things in 2017, such as a polar bear dip and snowshoeing
Donna Hatt knew she didn't want a party for her 50th birthday last year.
"It was actually in the wee hours of one night when I thought, 'What am I going to do? I'm a half-century,'" she told CBC's Mainstreet. "And the list just started streaming out on paper."
Hatt, who lives outside of Bridgewater, N.S., came up with a number of things she hadn't done before.
"I thought, you know what, I don't need a day: I need 365," said Hatt.
And there it was — 50 firsts.
Hatt jumped into her year of firsts even before her birthday on Feb. 8, 2017.
On Jan. 1, she braved the cold to do the Polar Bunny Dip where she works at White Point Beach Resort. The day ended with a double rainbow.
Iceland, bass fishing, bubble bath
As the year went on, her list grew.
Hatt spent Thanksgiving in Iceland, which was a birthday present from her husband.
She went snowshoeing, bass fishing and sailed to new-to-her destinations in Nova Scotia.
Hatt gave blood for the first time.
She even went for a colon cancer test after a yellow slip showed up in the mail — an unexpected perk of turning 50.
"Some of the things on the list, they're not big door crashers by any means," she said.
Hatt took a bubble bath for the first time ever. She even had bath salts, candles and wine to spice up the experience.
"After 10 minutes I said, 'OK, what's next?'" said Hatt.
A journey of self-discovery
Hatt ended up doing things she wouldn't normally do.
As Hatt told people about her plan, new opportunities came about.
Hatt was asked if she wanted to go see a country music concert because someone had spare tickets. Despite not being a country music fan, she went and saw Brett Kissel at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool.
Now, she even listens to country music on the radio.
Hatt also learned some new dislikes.
"I usually like everything regimental and planned, articulated to the hour. What's gonna happen and when it's gonna happen," said Hatt.
Even so, her Iceland trip taught her that she's not fond of bus tours.
'A year is filled with options and opportunities'
Life is short, Hatt said, and there's so much to share.
"It's not about buying things: it's about time. And it's about spending time with people you haven't taken the time to spend it with," she said.
The list isn't a contest, but about pushing herself to do something different.
Hatt accomplished more than 60 firsts in 2017, but she said "Nova Scotia is bursting with even more experiences" and she has 51 firsts planned for 2018, such as drinking lobster beer and going surfing in winter.
"A year is filled with options and opportunities," she said.
With files from CBC's Mainstreet