Personally speaking, 2018 has been a huge year of growth for me. “Growth” is defined differently for everyone and for me, today, growth is knowledge. This year I learned so much about myself and about life, thanks to a series of events that were thrust upon me.
I could go back into my calendar and get you a play by play of events but the large events that stick in my mind are the experiences I learned from the most. Chronologically, and in an executive summary, I will share what I was gifted this year.
January 2018, my girlfriend and I ended our long-term relationship. I wish I could say that we had a beautiful 2-hour talk and arrived at the fact that we were just not the right fit for one another, and promised to keep in touch and have coffee once in a while, but that would be true only on opposites day. It ended in a somewhat dramatic fashion and we have not spoken since. Perhaps that is what needed to happen to break the cycle we were stuck in and move on. It was so tempting to revert back to the ghetto-street skills I had honed as a youngster and saying what was really on my mind but I chose the more refined version of myself and carried myself with tact, respect, and love. This experience taught me that I need to be honest with myself. Honesty with yourself means happiness. I like being happy. More honesty, please.
February 2018, I spent the entire month surfing in Costa Rica. This is the 6th year that I have been able to travel for the entire month of February and work remotely. This is the second year in a row I have been to Costa Rica to surf. I was not able to join my dear friends Scott and Melissa this time due to Scott’s declining health, so I went solo on this trip. I had met many friends from the previous year so it was somewhat of a homecoming with familiar faces. I was able to become part of the special Santa Teresa community and had one of the best trips I have ever been on. This experience taught me that I have no limits in life, only the limits I place on myself.
March 2018, celebrating my 50th year alive. When I think of a 50th birthday celebration, I see 100’s of people raising champagne glasses, toasting that I am a jolly good fellow, etc. Honestly, that is not what I wanted and as the year went on, honesty with myself became a reoccurring theme (more on this later). I had the absolute best birthday ever. My three children joined my best friend Scott and his wife Melissa, and we had a small celebration. Scott and I grew up together and have known each other for 43 years. In fact, Scott was at my 10th birthday party, and we snapped a picture on that day that we then recreated on my 50th birthday. Having my children altogether, along with my best friend, was the best birthday gift I could have ever received. My heart was truly happy. This experience taught me that my time on earth is short and the relationships that I choose will be deep, loving, and only with persons who reciprocate in a way that adds value to my life.
April 2018, my son, 19, moved back home so he can attend college. Our relationship has been strained for 5 years. His attendance at my birthday party was a gift in itself. There were many concerns about his homecoming (for both of us) but we discussed them and he moved in and started attending college. As I type this, on December 31st, he is now preparing to move out. I have many emotions about this but in the end, this is what seems is best. I am grateful that his exit is as amicable as can be, and that we will still be spending time together. This experience taught me that my son is a different man that I am. While there are similarities, he has completely different interests that I do not understand, but that I do not need to understand. All I need to do is support and love him.
May 2018, social life heating up, balling in my professional life. Dating teaches you a lot about yourself. It helps to expose weaknesses you might succumb to or have succumbed to in previous relationships, or more importantly, teach you how much you have grown and learned from previous relationships. Professionally, I got to start a project that very few get to do. I am still working on this secret project but the outlook is positive and hopefully, I can share soon! This experience taught me that I am a baller and shot caller in my career. I get to do things that not too many others get to experience. I am grateful for this.
June 2018, celebrating our companies 10th anniversary. This is huge. I played poker to subsidize my income when we started it. We now have millions of humans that know us and use our products and we also get to disrupt an industry that is dominated by a few. This experience has taught me to focus and enjoy the journey versus focusing on the end goal.
July 2018, took a float plane to Canada and also invited on a yacht trip in the San Juans. I have never taken a float plane and this was a cool experience. For one, Seattle/Lake Union is the best place to take off and land in a float plane, and flying over the Puget Sound has to be the best place to fly over. On another trip, we were invited to stay on a yacht while touring the San Juan Islands. The weather was perfect, 80 degrees, slight breeze, and clear as can be, the entire trip. Being able to stay in Victoria, on Canada Day, at the Empress Hotel, and travel on a yacht in the San Juan Islands on the most epic day with an amazing woman was one of the highlights of my year. This experience has taught me that I deserve the best and to seek out unique experiences and say “yes” more than “no.”
August 2018, I lost my best friend. I grew up next-door to Scott in Norwalk on Cyclops Street. I have been blessed to have Scott in my life for over 40 years. He is my brother from another mother. Unfortunately, Scott’s options for treatment of his cancer ran out and he peacefully passed away in late August. I will be writing more about this experience in depth, but this was the single biggest learning experience for me this year. I have learned so much from his passing and his life and I can’t wait to write about it. In summary, it is being honest and true to myself, focusing on quality versus quantity, and living in present. Take nothing for granted. I love you brother, and I miss you every day.
October 2018, Spoke at an industry event in Las Vegas. Anytime I can get up on the stage and speak to a group of people about something I am passionate about is a victory for me. I had a team behind me helping to prepare my talk and designing the deck, etc. All in all, the talk went well and the audience was receptive to my topic. What this experience taught me is that I am good at public speaking and that I really enjoy doing it and that I am not so good at speech writing or deck designing. Another example of me being honest with myself so I can focus on what I enjoy doing versus becoming a curmudgeon doing something I don’t enjoy.
November 2018, finally got to wear a White Tuxedo. Because Halloween fell on a mid-week day, the costume party I went to happened in November, and therefore this event qualifies for a November log. We were invited to a super fun costume party that was themed film noir. The event was in Queen Anne at a wonderful couples very party friendly home. We dressed up in the perfect theme and started off the night at Canlis having drinks. What this event taught me is that I like to have fun!
December 2018, I hiked to Mailbox Peak. I have been on quite a few hikes this year thanks to my girlfriend’s love of hiking. We have been on many challenging hikes this year but none as challenging as Mailbox Peak in Washington. The most challenging aspect of the hike was that we went late in the day and therefore spent 2 hours hiking down in the dark. Hiking in the dark in cougar and bear country is not fun at all. We survived and are smarter from it. What this experience taught me is that I need to be a better planner and anticipate all possible outcomes when putting myself in such situations.
I had so many more amazing experiences this year but those above are what stuck with me when recalling them. I am really excited about 2019. If you have not guessed it yet, I will be accentuating the theme that introduced itself in 2018, and that is to be honest with myself and live my life true to myself. I will not sacrifice my values to appease another. At this point, I know myself better than I ever have and I owe it to myself, and to Scott, to be honest with myself and live my true life. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog! Happiest of New Year’s to you all.