2018 down, 2019 to go

I was driving back towards home from San Francisco today and was doing a lot of reflecting on the past year.  I suppose that’s what we do today right?  But it was fun to think back on what was truly an overall good year for me.  In 2016 on this same blog (read here) I posted about how I thought 2016 was my first “uptick” year in a while.  Where on the whole, I could say it was better than the previous year.  Now that wasn’t too hard considering 2015 was about as low as things could get for me.  But it was an uptick nonetheless.  And really the first uptick since probably 2006.  I hold so much anger and sadness over the fact that I really think the “best years of my life”, my mid 20s to mid 30s were so very much the worst years of my life.

2018 started out kind of terrible.  I was in the hospital for a few days and had to undergo a very minor procedure and even though it wasn’t anything serious, it was just a down start to the year.  But in all honesty, after that, things just got better.   My attitude was better.  I really succeeded this year at being present and enjoying moments, big and small.  I remember learning that anxiety lives in the past and the future, but not the present.  Being present was a great gift this year.  Whether it was being on a trip, or holding my sweetheart (more on her later) or calling a race again (more on that later too), I always made sure to be present in those moments and savor them.

I was also far more connected this year to other people than I have been in, well probably ever.  There were several YEARS in a row that I probably went to meals with people less than 5 times total in a year.  I didn’t go to Xmas or Thanksgiving or any family holiday events for years.  I was just far too ashamed of what I was and didn’t want anyone to see me like that.  Fat.  Sad.  Anxious. A failure.  I didn’t want to be loved cause I didn’t think I deserved any of it.

I truly don’t remember really turning a corner towards being happier.  I just honestly started doing more things.  Being more active made a HUGE difference.  I know just walking more and adding stamina has made a world of difference to me.  I also pushed myself out of my comfort zone more and more in 2018.  There were literally years when I wouldn’t go more than a few hundred feet from my car cause I needed a way to escape.  I rode a mobile scooter anytime I had to be around crowds cause I’d get so nervous.  In 2018 I made great strides in going to crowded events and being around people and not just being in and around them, but enjoying them.

I made wonderful new friends in 2018 and also reconnected with several old friends.  I got to shake so many people’s hands this year that I knew from social media, or who were listeners to my podcast, or were just people I had never even heard of.  I also made efforts to visit with some of my old best friends and it was great to connect with them, sometimes if even for just a meal.  I met a wonderful woman this year who I got the pleasure to travel with, spend time with, play guitar for, walk with, and much more.  She’s been a great influence on me and it’s been fun to share time like that with someone special.  Thanks buddy 🙂

I saw a whole lot of North America in 2018.  By my count I took trips to Vancouver BC, Sequim WA, Portland OR, Brookings, OR, San Francisco CA, Los Angeles CA, San Diego CA, Las Vegas NV, Phoenix AZ, Miami FL, and many spots in between.  I put about 40k miles on my car this year.  And I love roadtripping and really enjoyed my travels this year.  So many memorable experiences, meals, and wonderful people I got to see in my travels this year.

My trip to Miami in November was probably the biggest thing of my year for many reasons.  I was so shocked when Pete Aiello called and asked me cause I really felt like I’d never call another race again.  Pete told me on the phone “I tried to think who would really appreciate and enjoy the opportunity and I thought of you.”  That guy’s got a heart as big as Pegasus.

Funny thing is when I told Pete that I could fill in for him, I kept telling myself “this is my chance to write a better ending for my announcing career.  This is a chance for me to prove to myself I could still do it.”  It was very much a me vs me thing in my mind.  Now what really actually happened on that trip was I realized just how many people were in my corner rooting for me.  It wasn’t just me vs me.  Or me vs. my old demons.  It was me with the love and support of many many friends and supporters.  I got so many amazing kind notes and words from people about the trip and my announcing.   Someone I’d only known from social media invited me to his family’s Thanksgiving dinner.  Other friends I’d only known from social media let me stay at their houses on the way home.  I was showered with love and support that entire trip and I just remember thinking after it was over, this wasn’t about me vs. me at all.  It was about realizing how loved and supported I am.  And I think these same people like me announcing or not.  Which is something I wouldn’t have thought a few years ago.  I’m still flabbergasted by the love I was shown and still am shown by people.

Just a great way to end a very good year.

So onto 2019.  Hope to make it another step forward.  I’m not a resolution person but I can think of a few things I really hope to accomplish in 2019.  And If I don’t, hey there’s always 2020.

–Fly in a plane again
–Call a Graded Stakes race (still never have)
–Finish a second novel
–Write a song
–Be as creative as a I can be and remember how much fulfillment I get out of creating things
–Eat healthier
–Continue to walk more and more
–Be in nature more often
–Tweet less, read more
–Not die yet