2009 is almost in the books! What an amazing year it has been and how amazing the future looks! I can hardly imagine what is possible, but I know anything is! A lot more happened this year than I thought possible… so here is just a glimpse.
1. I Can Run!
I began 2009 with a plan to run more. I didn’t figure I’d play much tennis, so I wanted to be more physically active. Nathanael gave me the Nike+ Running “friend” for my birthday in January and what has happened is nothing short of amazing!
This first image is from April… My runs are averaging about 1.8 miles per run.
Jump forward to today and I’m averaging about 3.2 miles per run and just set a personal best for distance and mile pace. This year I’ve run (as of mid-December) 284 miles and spent more than 45 hours running. My goal was 275 miles, so I’m pleased and surprised with my final results. Next year will be more of the same, but I’m going to work on my consistency.
2. Reading is Awesome!
In 2008, I had a goal to read 20 books. I didn’t hit that mark. In 2009, I had a goal of 12 and while I came up a bit short, I read two 700+ page books, all the while writing my own and being a freelancer and writing 3-4 posts a week here at Finding Focus. All told, it was a wonderful year of growth for me. My goal will remain 10 books for 2010 and I already have that stack started. My favorites from this year included my one political read, Team of Rivals, as well as Outliers, Beautiful Boy and Agony and the Ecstasy.
3. World-Class Athletes are Very Humble
This year I had to amazing good fortune to fill in at the last minute at the US Open USTA Wheelchair Championships. I had never seen any wheelchair sport in person and I was skeptical. Not anymore. You can see some of my photos from the event. I will forever be a fan of this sport now. The best part aside from meeting some amazing people, were the athletes themselves. These were the best wheelchair tennis players in the world! Just having conversations with them over lunch and at the hotel… they are the most humble, relaxed and kind athletes I’ve ever met.
4. Challenging Yourself Brings Results
I’ve written numerous times this year (here and here) about how deciding to chase after a passion, painting, has resulted in some really cool opportunities. I’ve also had a chance to join a local writing group which has challenged me to be an even better writer, but also allowed me to learn about other writers. Both these passions have given me much this year, and I will continue to challenge myself next year to see where things can go.
5. Be True to Who You Are
This has been an extraordinary year for gay rights. In April, The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. Other states also took steps and some still took steps backwards. But just this month, our nation’s capital legalized gay marriage. My friends have been amazingly supportive of my own personal and family struggles this year, and while it hasn’t been the easiest year at times, I remain true to who I am, which helps me be true to the world.
6. Thou Must Giveth
I’ve been out of college for four years now and this is the first year that I actually gave earnestly to charities. I hope it is a trend that will continue. It began with Kiva back in the early spring. Then this fall, I ran a campaign called, OneStream, which you can still join and support entrepreneurs around the world. To date, I have given nearly $150 in loans around the world. In addition, I donated money to Heifer International this year for a few Christmas gifts.
7. Anything is Possible
That has been the theme for my year for sure. My speaking opportunities grew, and some were a surprise. I will never forget that day in August or September when I got one email and two phones calls on the same day from people and groups interested in bringing me in for an event or training. It is no surprise that Anything is Possible is also the name of my book that will be available in early 2010. This will remain a theme of my life in 2010.
As 2009 ends, I’m looking forward to an amazing 2010. I remember back on December 31, 1999, sitting in my bedroom at my parents’ house, watching the celebrations around the world as each major city welcomed the new millennium. I now welcome a new decade. In the past decade I have graduated from high school, graduated from college, started my own company, written a book, came out and showed my work in an art show. But most of all, I think what I will take from 2000-2009, is that I found love. I found it in the strangest of places and in the closest of friends. I can only imagine what 2010-2019 will bring. I welcome the journey.
What are YOU taking from 2009?