2019 is literally going out with a bang. I’m listening to people near me who are lighting off fireworks, likely drunk and not realizing how cold it is out there.
I’m not usually one to give much pomp and circumstance to a new year... after all, it’s just another day. But I’m feeling thankful tonight and inspired to share a bit of my journey... where it’s been, where it was in 2019, and where it’s headed in 2020. If you’re interested, read on. If not, move along... no hard feelings.
This year started off rough. I was in the middle of the end of a tumultuous relationship, taking anti-depressants for the first time in my life, and homeless. I don’t want sympathy... I’m just drawing you in with drama... because I like to be dramatic... which is also why I like to put ... in the middle of my written out thoughts.
Things started looking up in the summer when Aimee and I stumbled upon each other, striking up a relationship that began nearly 15 years prior with a large gap in-between. Three months later I made the best decision of my life and married her.
I also dove into self-employment, full-time, for the first time ever... This adventure has been the most rewarding, frightening, and surprising ride I’ve ever taken. Here are a few things I’ve learned about it:
1) Don’t count on anyone but yourself. If other people show up for you, count it as a bonus because people will let you down.
2) You can do anything you put your mind to if you have passion and are driven. The sky is the limit.
3) Treat people well even if they are idiots. You’ll win in the long run.
Other things of note that I learned from 2019 in no particular order:
1) I’m not normal. My family is not normal. I am probably still okay... AND I need regular counseling to continue to reinforce these things.
2) I understand love in a way that I’ve never experienced before. My first taste of true love was when I laid eyes on my babies for the first time and the second is my wife, Aimee. They are two different kinds of love, but both so very rewarding and so necessary. Aimee heals me every day from my wounds... and I’m realizing that I need to tell her that more often as I’m writing this. She loves me without condition. I am an idiot EVERY day, and she wins me and teaches me with her gentle words and her kindness. I know she will love me like this for the rest of my life and I could not be more thankful.
3) I have a better understanding of where I’m going. I’m leading my family. It’s curious that I never grasped this too well in the first half of my life up until now. I think I was probably pretty distracted and exhausted from wearing so many hats and masks, but the reality has hit me over the head this year. I’m responsible to show my wife and our children what it means to be strong, to lead well, to be honest, to be empathetic, to do the hard things when it hurts, to make a difference in this world, and to lead them into a narrative that is transformative... something bigger than ourselves... something sacrificial. I don’t entirely know how that narrative ends, but I believe that 2020 will reflect a clearer picture by the time 2021 rolls around... and I am excited.
4) I don’t need anti-depressants.
5) Weaning off of anti-depressants is hard.
6) I still do not back down from confrontation if I believe in something. I don’t see that changing.
7) I’ve been learning to slow down around my boys. I take things in because I want to remember these moments. Sometimes I pause in certain moments and imagine that I have the capability of traveling back in time... and I imagine that the current moments I’m experiencing with my boys... laughing, playing, being silly... that I’ve actually been granted a pass to relive these moments that have been long gone for several years, after they are grown and have lives of their own. It gives me perspective of how precious this time is with them.
8) You cannot put a price on emotional health and well-being. In 2019 I left a toxic job, a toxic relationship, and put up boundaries in relationships that brought negativity into my life. I’ve been profoundly happy for the first time since I can remember.
9) I’ve rediscovered my love for cows.
10) I will always be a student to what I’m passionate about.
11) I’m learning what really pisses me off and am also learning that I should probably do something about it.
There are some things that I am committing to for 2020:
1) I’m going to write more. I wrote a children’s book and I want to write more of them. I started writing music again for the first time in a couple years. I’m remembering the healthy space writing gives me as a creative outlet.
2) I’m going to try new things. As I mentioned above about leading my family... finding that narrative is going to take trying things we’re not comfortable with, and I’m committed to making a difference.
3) Contracting 12 website design jobs. It’s one a month. It’s doable. BTW, do you need a website?
4) Work and collaborate with people who are nice. This might sound weird, but I chose the opposite in 2019 and it bit me in the butt.
5) Finding normal. We’re a family of 4 living in a 2-bedroom apartment. We need a house. My wife works 3rd shift in Kalamazoo and I only see her for half of the week. It sucks, but is a reality right now. I’m not sure where all of this is going to land, but 2020 is the year to figure out where we’ll be.
That about wraps it up. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Bring on a new year.