Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

I've fumbled around with the idea of a wrap-up to 2010 all week and as I begin here, I have no plan.  My brain will guide my thoughts and as they say...it is what it is.  Interesting is that this marks my 351st post here on my blog.  Amazing to me...amazing that I've really written that much since I started this 3 years ago.

2010, in contrast to 2009 was so extremely different.  While 2009 held triumphs in my life on the trails...that being three 100-mile ultramarathon finishes, 2010 held none.  2010 actually didn't even have 5 race entries at all.  It turned out to be a year where I stood back a bit and observed the sport I had fallen in love with.  I wrote more, photographed a million times more, and volunteered my time more than ever.  While I didn't "log" those volunteer hours to gain points in the local "series," I was out there for a lot of them and loved it.  I also saw the true colors of a great many people...sometimes good or great and sometimes not so good at all.  Friendships were gained and nourished and friendships lost.  Luckily, the "gained" category trumped the lost category.  But those that were lost...no regrets at all.  One thing that is sometimes painfully true for me is that I am about as raw as they come...I am what I am and will not compromise my character or beliefs just to pacify someone else.  On the flip side, for those I differ greatly with, I am very open to a very civil relationship with them...we are grown-ups, after all, and we can agree to disagree yet remain friends all the same.  Those are some of the best relationships, too.  But for those who can't meet me half way...well, so long!  But with regards to my lack of finish lines in 2010, I'm totally OK with that.  I don't feel like I lost out at all...well, perhaps that's not 100% true.  I really missed running Oil Creek again.  I wanted my 2nd buckle from there.  At least I spent a lot of time there throughout the race weekend.  Perhaps some other day.  For 2011, I have no idea what it'll hold in terms of events.  I'm still on the fence as to where I feel led.  I've already given up being editor of the Western Reserve Trail Running newsletter...I guess we'll see.  I don't feel "nudged" in any certain direction right now.

Professionally in my 7-5 job with Uncle Sam, well...it is what it is!  It is a perfect job for someone in the military reserve and I'm very good at the job.  It's a very stressful job with a workload like none I have ever seen before but I just do what I can do each day and go home.  That's all I can do, right?!  The silver lining in my job is that I can directly, face-to-face, have an impact on peoples' lives who are going through very difficult times.  I have the "power" to actually do something for them (within 'policy,' of course!) which is the intangible part of what I do that I hold precious.  My future is an open book with a multitude of possible directions at my civilian job so in a way, it's exciting to see what it may hold.  Once I pass my 3-year point (in April 2011), many options will finally open up to me for advancement.

Family.  Dang, I am thankful.  My wife and two little girls are my world.  If not for them...well, I can't even imagine that.  I am eternally thankful to the Lord for blessing me with them.  This year has us drawn closer together, I believe.  Honestly, I don't even know what else to say about this...  thankful ~ precious ~ forever

Money, money, money...budget, budget, budget...teamwork, teamwork, teamwork.  One year ago from right now, Marjie and I teamed up and wrote the first budget in over 17 years of marriage.  We always lived paycheck to paycheck (it didn't matter what our income was), penny to penny.  By getting on Dave Ramsey's plan..the "Total Money Makeover"...we have totally changed our lives, and we don't make any more money.  Today at the one year point, I can confidently tell you that we have removed, entirely, one gigantic, monstrous stress from our life..the stress of money.  It is totally gone.  We no longer stress over it, we don't fight over it, we have a plan...a written plan, to become debt free, house and all, and we are doing it.  In the past 12 months, we have put over 40% of our take-home income to debt.  40%!!!!  Before this, we were in the negative (ie: increasing debt).  Over 40% of every dollar that comes in!  Don't think we lived in a shell and did nothing, either.  Vacation was in there...a replacement computer (hello, iMac!)...and now a paid for car and we are credit card free.  We simply operate on cash only and budget every single penny and are killing our debt.  We're even implementing this with our kids so they will grow up to know what being debt free is all about.  For 2011, we will make huge strides and will arrive debt free, all but the house.  That's the short-term goal.  Once achieved, it'll be guns-a-blazing on the house!  We honestly believe that by the time our oldest daughter gets her high school diploma, we can declare that we are debt free...totally..house and all.  We'll be in our mid-40s at that point.  We shall see!  It's pretty cool to see other friends coming to us, too...interested at what's going on and how to do it themselves.  It truly HAS transformed our life.

My life as a Navy Supply Officer has really developed over the past year.  I graduated from the Supply Corps School in March and currently am the XO (Executive Officer) of a command in Columbus, OH.  That's 2nd in command for you non-military types.  Even cooler is that I hold the position in a pretty junior rank when the preferred rank for XO is two ranks higher.  I am very fortunate and blessed to get the opportunity for this so early in my officer career.  I've also traveled quite a bit in 2010, to Chicago a few times to the Great Lakes Naval Station (one of those was on 9/11), a trip to Wisconsin, a week-long leadership training in Virginia Beach, and also a trip to Fort Belvoir, VA for another conference.  Lots of miles on my car but so worth it.  I feel most at ease and in my "place" when I am wearing the cloth of my country.  I know that I was placed on this earth to serve others and serving my country is incredibly rewarding and satisfying.  For 2011, my role in the military will grow and develop even more.  Those details, though, like everything else I do in the military will be talked about after they happen.  If you haven't noticed yet, I never talk about military things BEFORE they happen...always after.  It's called OPSEC (operational security)...security for our country and security/protection over my family.  I wish it wasn't that way, but it is.  But I will say this, 2011 will be amazing...stay tuned!

To all...have a great 2011.  Like I've preached before, forget those resolutions.  Resolutions are a joke and don't work.  Make a change...a permanent change.  Write down your goals and set deadlines.  JUST DO IT!!  Whatever you do, keep your priorities in check...your faith, your family, and whatever comes next for you and don't compromise them.  Live every day to it's fullest and don't ever assume there will be a next.  There might not be.

Happy Trails, everyone!

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