Gratitude for a great year

This post is about things I think about at the end of a year. Things that made me happy. Things that I am taking into 2019 that make me grateful. What are some of your highlights?

2018 brought me face to face with a lot of change, some challenges, tears, laughter, new and old friends.

Here’s some of my highlights:

I stood by my best friend, who had a hemorrhagic stroke a little over a year ago, through medical appointments, hernia surgery and helping to slow his financial bleeding. There was a moment when I drove him to visit my parents in Marion where he was telling his story and he just broke down into abject tears while telling them about waking from has coma not knowing his own mother was dead. It was one of the only times I saw him emote since his stroke. I feel like we lost parts of him to his event but, in some ways, it has shown us who we are as family.

There was also the amazing wilderness trips I took outdoors to continue exploring that side of myself and nature. The huge hike in Washington over three mountains, 100 miles taking 6 days to complete. The ridiculous 50 lbs pack weight I had because I had to carry both bear cans as my buddy’s pack was not wide enough. Seeing bears, elk and various other forms of wildlife were amazing as was being able to almost touch the clouds on the mountain tops as the formations drifted all around us.

The year also went on to close the same way it rolled along. With a gift. A challenge really. I got a new job. I’ve been a software architect now for three years. I got an offer to go work for an amazing small firm though as a software engineer. The money worked out great and I am going to once again crack my knuckles in an effort to stay relevant in my chosen field. Technology changes really quick. While I am nervous about the stress, I think I am self aware enough now that I will try to watch out for anything that takes me off balance in the future. It’s also a lot of fun so I am looking forward to 2019 for that. Still, grateful for all the lessons and connections I made at my old job.

These are the kind of things that helped me to get back up off the floor when a bout of depression would hit me. Sometimes for days. The people in my life, my friends, coworkers, and family. The sound of crickets, purified water from mountain streams, and the smell of campfire. All these things and events that can lift us back up. Another year alive.

I don’t make resolutions, I just try to set myself up for better choices. Allow for failure. Always be thankful.

I hope that all of you are closing 2018 with a smile and something to go forward into 2019 with that makes your heart sing.

Next year my hopes include 12 backpack/hiking trips, trying kayaking for the first time, finishing my first full arm tattoo, getting back to running and lifting weights more regularly, mediation, more vegetables and lot’s of work both professionally and with my therapist on the depression front.

Happy New Year everyone!

Jeff

The picture above was of me, left, and my buddy Doug after completing our Olympic Mountain hike from up top of Hurricane Ridge overlooking the mountain ranges. We both cried due the sheer effort and beauty.

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