Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

 It doesn't seem like it was that long ago when I sat down and wrote about my 2019 and how much I was looking forward to 2020. Yet, it's been a year ago now, and, man, what a year it was. Even though we dealt with a global pandemic, it was still a year that I can look back on and feel grateful and fortunate for. 

I've come a long way from the start of 2018 when I knew something was really wrong. I spent the next three years ('18, '19, and '20) dealing with the entirety of a life that was rough. Over those three years, I suffered, I cried, I learned a lot about myself, I went through big changes, I healed, I became stronger, I became renewed, and I forged a new path. See, my life had ceased to be my own and I was miserably depressed. Over these past three years, I've reclaimed my life and rediscovered myself.

The biggest takeaway from all of this is that I'm determined to live the life I've always wanted for myself and I'm working hard to get there. There were times in the past when I thought it was too late to ever achieve my dreams, but I know now that that just isn't true. My only barrier to my dreams was myself.

A year ago, I proclaimed that 2020 was going to be my year, and, to be sure, I righted my course. Now, I can look forward to 2021 as being the year where I intend to skyrocket in my all areas. Before I do, however, I need to give a nod to 2020 and all the goodness she brought to me.

1. I Traveled

Travel and adventure go hand-in-hand for me, and it's an integral part of my life. Traveling is what makes me happy, gives me joy & fulfillment, and broadens my horizons. To that end:

I spent Mother's Day weekend taking an adventure with my kids to nab the high points of Nebraska and Kansas with an amazing stop at Pawnee Buttes in Colorado.

In July, I took another joint vacation with my folks to Minnesota. While our main goal was to nab that state's high point, we had a fantastic time checking out sites along Highway 61 as well as the Lutsen Alpine slide and other fun things.

Then, in October, I took a trip with my best friend to the exquisite Grand Hotel and explored it's Michigan home on Mackinac Island. On our way back home, we made pit stops at the high points of Michigan and Wisconsin which means I've now made it to 8 state high points.

Before my travels this last year, I had never been to a single one of the Great Lakes. Now, I've been to three: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.

I was worried that I wouldn't get to a Renaissance Faire in 2020 because of Covid, but the Des Moines Renaissance Faire managed to pull off a great one in the Fall. As a die-hard RF fan, I felt like my year was complete after watching a Joust.

2. I Made Major Life Changes

There comes a time when everyone reevaluates their lives and realizes that there are changes to be made. I was no exception to this and made my own changes. Big changes to be sure, but necessary. 

3. I Decided to Pursue FIRE

Back in August, I decided that FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) was the path my life should take and the goal I wanted to achieve. Shortly thereafter, I picked up a second job to pay off debt. This second job saw lots of benefits for me beyond paying debt, although I'm happy to report that I'm nearly debt-free - with the exception of my student loans. I will be financially independent and ready to retire no later than the Fall of 2030, and I'm excited about that chapter of my life. 

4. I Kept on 'a Walking

If you've been reading this blog for a while, or follow me on social media, then you know that I have had a goal since April of 2018 to walk at least 100 miles a month. While there were a few short months - there always are - I still hit or was close to my goal each month this year. I closed out December of 2020 with 112.22 miles under the belt, walking a total of 1,250.90 miles in 2020. This was my best year yet, beating out 2019 by three miles. I've now walked a grand total of 3,336.87 miles since I started walking and logging miles in earnest back in April 2018.

5. I Worked on Relationships

I was dealing with so much personal trauma for a few years, that I could barely take care of myself let alone be there for others. When I healed from everything early in 2020, I realized how much I had disconnected from those closest to me. I had to really start being there again for my friends, family, and especially my kids. My kids, more than anyone, needed me and I made sure to be there for them completely. We're now closer than ever and we're all much happier than before. And my friends - who selflessly helped me through my issues while putting their's in the background - had the tables turned as I now focused on them and the things they needed. I feel more connected to them now as well. I've also formed closer bonds with my outlying friends, and I feel like I have one big extended family.

All of this makes me value the importance of the people in my life and the role they play in my well-being.

6. I all but gave up Social Media use

Except for about a month stint using social media after quarantine, I've barely used social media in almost a year. At first, it was hard to give it up, much like other addictions I've had in the past, but over time I adapted. I've adapted so well, in fact, that my desire to use social media platforms is pretty much nil. The end result for me is that I feel more connected to my life. I'm more productive at work and more attentive to others, and I enjoy my time on outings and trips because I'm not constantly connected to my phone. I feel like I have my feet firmly planted in the world, and I wouldn't change that for anything.

While 2020 wasn't perfect, there were many bright spots. Still, there are plenty of things I need to work on in the new year, and I have no qualms about working hard to get there. I hope you can realize your dreams in the coming year, and that you will be able to look back on it and smile.

"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always on your back."
                            - Irish blessing


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