Out with the Old and in with the New

It's hard to believe it, yet here we are, firmly in the grasp of another new year. When 2019 began, I couldn't have been in a lower nor more miserable place. 2018 was harrowing and I felt hopelessness so deep and so pervasive, that I wasn't sure if things would ever turn around. I couldn't see a light at the end of that miserable tunnel and it was devastating. While I tried to see the positive in 2018, inside I was horribly depressed. Fortunately for me, the end of February was a turning point and in March, I slowly started bringing my life back together, albeit in a new way. Basically, the good came back to my life and I came out of the darkness shiny and new. I had grown, nee blossomed, into something greater than the sum of my parts.

Now, as 2020 dawns, I start it with a new sense of self, a new direction in my life, and with feelings of hope, contentment, happiness, confidence, and direction. 2020 will surely be my year, I can feel it. It's amazing to see how much difference a year makes. I started the year in the worst place and ended it in the best place, and, for that, I am eternally grateful. While the year started off horribly, so many great things happened:

1. I interviewed and was hired for a different position with my employer. I got a significant pay increase and my own office. If that wasn't great enough, I was fortunate to have another wonderful set of people to work with. I loved my crew in my old position and worried that I might not have that luck in the new position, but it all worked out well. Sure, I had a lot of new stuff to learn, but six months in and I really got the hang of it. 

2. I finally realized what the issues were that had plagued me all of 2018 and into the first few months of 2019. This was significant as knowing is half the battle. The other half was learning to deal with it all and bringing myself back to a better place. I did that but, to my surprise, I had learned a lot from the negativity and turned it all into positives. I'm a stronger, more patient, and more confident person who knows where they're going, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

3. I got to take some great trips this year: 
  • I took my yearly vacation out to South Dakota with my Dad, my kids, and my stepmom, and we had a wonderful time. We hiked up Bear Butte and Black Elk Peak, saw Devil's Tower and the Badlands, and generally had a fantastic trip. 
  • I flew out to Portland for what is my now yearly trip to see my best friend Lisa. We hiked, we ate, and we visited. It was wonderful.
  • I flew down to Texas the day after Christmas and stayed until New Year's Eve morning. I got to spend time with my Mom, my Grandma, and my Uncle. Of course, good plant-based food and hiking were involved, because that's how all my trips go.
  • I took some smaller trips, near and far, as well: Columbia, MO, to visit family; Missouri to go to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival; to Iowa for a quick visit with family; Lake Okoboji and Hawkeye Point; and some day trips to my beloved Iowa Mountains.
4. I kept up with my 100-miles-a-month goal, making it 100 miles a month or better every month except for January and February. I ended up putting 1,247.89 miles on these feet, and a combined total of 2,085.97 miles since I started keeping track in April of 2018. 

5. I joined the Highpointers Club, making it a goal to climb the high point in each of the lower 48 states. I had already climbed South Dakota's high point (Black Elk Peak) by then and later made a day trip to Hawkeye Point to get Iowa's. I'm three-deep now, having climbed Arkansas's high point back in 2017.

6. I also decided to become an Ultra Walker and made a goal of walking a marathon.

7. I ended the year by having a fancy prix fixe meal at my favorite restaurant, Modern Love - I'll have a post dedicated to that later. Afterward, I came home to have some drinks and relax. When midnight struck, I opened my front door and let the new year in. It was a wonderful, peaceful way to ring in 2020. 

8. I finished my patch vest and started going to metal shows again, something I dearly missed. I also met Brian and through that connection embarked on another chapter in The Write Life: writing pieces for the local metal magazine, Slime&Grime.

9. Last, but not least, I really started writing again in earnest. I'm finally working on a new book, Buried, and revealed the cover for that recently.

2019 ended up being a great year and I'm excited about what 2020 has in store for me. Now, to work on those pesky resolutions! I'll be posting about that soon as well. Have a great New Year's Day and a great New Year. I hope 2020 will be the year that brings you closer to your hopes and dreams.

Much love, 



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