It’s here! A new year! And not just any new year but. . . drum roll, please. . .  2020! One of the most sci-fi-ish years ever — close enough to imagine but so far away that it’ll never actually happen.

Until now!

The New Year has some work to do, frankly, what with the distinct lack of flying cars and personal robots. (Rosie from “The Jetsons,” I’m looking at you.) But you have almost 12 months to live up to your full potential, 2020. Shopping Siren has faith in you! Don’t let 2021 steal your thunder. (Like 2021 is ever going to happen.)

For the rest of us, the new year is a chance to go and do and learn and try things. What things, you ask?

Maybe these things.

• Audition for The Drowsy Chaperone,” Community Little Theatre, Feb. 2 and 3

For this meta-musical about, well, musicals, you might need to sing. You might need to dance. You’ll definitely have to stand on stage and not throw up from nerves. You can do this! The production is looking for a range of adult actors, from 25 to 60 years old, for parts like “man in chair” and “underling” and “gangsters.” Also, an ensemble of reporters, which is really the best part to play anywhere for anything, including in real life.

Not up for treading the boards just yet? Play the role of enthralled audience member and go see “The Drowsy Chaperone” from April 17-19 or April 23-26. Tickets are $14 to $22. You can marvel at all the not throwing up.

Attend the Public Theatre’s annual Father/Daughter Valentine Ball, Ramada Inn, Lewiston, Feb. 8

For dads and daughters age 4 to 12. Everyone gets to dress up! Everyone gets to dance! Everyone gets to spend $20 on a professional photo to remember the evening by! Tickets are $40 per father/daughter pair, plus $10 each for any additional daughters. So, clearly, you should take as many daughters as your car can hold.

• Join puppy yoga, Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, Feb. 9

Do downward facing dog. . . literally. You bring the mat, the Lewiston humane society supplies the array of adorable puppies that will happily distract you from any and all physical exercise save for rubbing their fluffy little tummies. Puppy yoga starts at 3:30 p.m. and costs $25 in advance or $30 at the door — assuming there’s still space. A similar January event sold out, and this one will probably be just as pupular, so be dogged about signing up in advance.

Get a new job, adult education, various dates and times

If you live in Maine (and let’s be honest, you do), you have an adult ed program near you. And that adult ed program has courses. And, yes, some of those courses are for fun, enriching things like pasta-making and past life regression. But others will actually enrich your bank account. At Franklin County Adult Ed, for example, you can prepare to be a certified nursing assistant or a certified first responder or an EMT or work in the heating and ventilation field. You can improve your computer skills. You can get help polishing your resume. New year, new career! I know the flying car industry could use some help.

• Go to camp as a grown-up, various dates and locations

You loved summer camp as a kid. Or hated it. You always wanted to go. Or you never wanted to go. But the great thing about summer camp as a grown-up? No one can make you do anything and also there is sometimes beer. Huzzah! There are a few adult camps in Maine, but two of the most well known are Camp Camp, for members of the LGBTQ community, and the New England Adult Music Camp, for people who never grew out of their “American Pie” fixation (or, you know, the bassoon). Costs range from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000, depending on the summer camp. Well worth the price for real campfire s’mores.

Volunteer, various dates, locations and causes

Fight fires, keep seniors company, be part of an animal rescue caravan, mentor young entrepreneurs, foster dogs, help people in a disaster — so many opportunities and all need you. Check out a cause physically near you (like the Lewiston area’s Dempsey Challenge, coming Sept. 26-27) or one that’s just close to your heart through Volunteer Maine and AllForGood.org. Make 2020 the Year of Doing Good. Much better than 2020, the Year of Hindsight.

Check out the birds, Stanton Bird Club, 8-11 a.m. every other Wednesday from May through October.

The Stanton Bird Club leads a ton of field trips throughout the year, but if you don’t want to freeze your tail feathers, try their regular summer and fall Wednesday Walks. They’re held throughout the area, so you’ll get to experience the delights of, say, Papermill Trail in Lisbon, Sabattus Pond or some private farms. No charge is listed on the website, so one assumes all club field trips are free? Of course, I also like to assume items are free when they don’t have a price tag in the grocery store, so I may not be the best judge here. (Also, I have been informed, that’s shoplifting. Don’t do that.)

• Enjoy a staycation, various dates and locations

We live in Maine! This is where people come to vacation! Why would you go anywhere else?! OK, well, yeah, going somewhere else is great. But sticking close to home is cool, too, especially if the home itself is cool. Check in at some of the more unique stays around the state, like a two-bed tiny home in Durham, an upscale treehouse with water views and a hot tub in Georgetown or a farm in Naples. You’ll get to experience some place amazing and new without the hassle of a plane ride to get there, which already makes it better than your last vacation.

Best find: Celebrate Maine’s 200th birthday, various dates and locations

Maine’s Bicentennial Commission is sponsoring events in 2020 to celebrate Maine’s 200th birthday. (Wow, Maine, 200? You don’t look a day over 29.) A statehood celebration will be held March 15 in Augusta. A bicentennial parade will be held May 16 in Lewiston-Auburn. The Tall Ships Festival will be held along the coast July 3-20. And an Innovation Expo will be held Oct. 10-12 in Bangor. Go, do, maybe see if there’s birthday cake.

Think twice: About not trying something new

Seize 2020! It’ll be the best year so far.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who would love to stick their head out the window of a flying car) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].


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