Where We Were, Where I Am, What’s Ahead
Here’s the thing about the recently-departed 2010: When things were good, they were just jaw-dropping, heartbreaking, tear-inducing awesome.
For instance, last winter, Kelsey qualified for this summer’s YMCA Gymnastics Nationals in San Diego, which was great all by itself and made for our first family trip to the West Coast and, of course, her stratospherically-beyond-expectations five-medal performance. That week in Southern California was bookended by my own solo cross-country drive, an unforgettable adventure of camping and meeting friends and seeing entirely new places. It was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time, and sometimes I still get goosebumps looking back at the pictures and remembering those moments when I realized I was actually doing it.
There was March’s long weekend trip to PAX East, where I got to meet several of my fellow GeekDad writers for the first time – and be a part of the first-ever GeekDad convention panel. Met Wil Wheaton and Scott Kurtz and Bill Amend and Ethan Gilsdorf, and the whole weekend sparked my return to Dungeons & Dragons, this time with Kelsey and Jenn alongside.
There was the trip Kelsey and I took to go to Star Wars Celebration V with Jim Carchidi in August, which I would have attended even if I wasn’t covering it for GeekDad. In terms of Force-ified geekfun, it managed to eclipse even the trip Jim and I took to Celebration III five years ago.
There were other good parts, too, but then, at the same time, when 2010 decided it was going to suck, it cranked up the pumps beyond eleven. These are much harder to write about, and I’m not getting specific for a couple reasons: The first one is out of respect of the privacy of my wife and daughter and family. Second is that no matter how bad these things were, there is always the perspective of another person’s or another family’s crises which are more severe, and even now, as I sit here and think of our own darkest hours of 2010, friends come to mind who dealt with losses that I find unimaginable. Third, well, frankly, there were some harsh lessons I learned about who I am and the things I need to change and where I need some serious work.
Here’s an excerpt from a note I wrote shortly after that surprise 40th birthday party:
What I was reminded on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, is that despite the ups and downs and the ongoing difficult times in my life, over the past four decades, the universe has been kind enough to surround me with the support and love of the most incredible and awesome group of family and friends a person could ask for. There’s simply no way to overstate the importance of having you all in my life, whether our paths cross only occasionally or whether we speak daily; whether you live within jogging distance or whether even a brief visit requires a few hundred miles of highway time; whether I’ve known you since I was wearing plaid pants and watching Sesame Street, or whether we’ve only recently become friends. Knowing people like all of you is what makes the tough times bearable and the good times precious and lasting.
I’m thankful and optimistic looking at the remaining 363 days of 2011: The end of the previous year brought with it some inspiration and possibility and a bunch of goals and desires and I’m hoping I’m aware enough to embrace all those things every single day.