This past year has been, without a doubt, one of the most demanding and rewarding years of my life.
And as I think of the things that defined my year, I can't help but smile, frown, laugh and recall the moments of sadness.
I would like to think I wasn't the only person who had a year of firsts, many of which were also large steps forward as I continue to grow into myself.
This year, I experienced my first full year of employment after college, which came after several months of unemployment and then time spent cleaning toilets.
To say that it has been what I expected would be a lie. I have learned more than I ever thought I would and have had more ups and downs that you'll find in the mountainous regions throughout the country.
But, I am still here and I have the experience of that first year now aiding me as I continue into my second year.
Additionally, the people I have met, the things I have been able to share with members of this community and the ways in which my perspectives have been challenged are things I wouldn't trade for a moment.
Next on the list of this year's highlights comes what happened in April, when I celebrated my first year of marriage, which is currently at the top of my list of accomplishments in life, next to graduating from college.
My first year of marriage is another example of what I could never have tried to expect. My wife and I have certainly experienced our fair share of hardship, but we've also learned a great deal about each other and what we want our marriage to be as we continue down this road and its unknown surprises.
In the last year, I was able to truly appreciate what it means to have a vacation as my wife and I took a belated honeymoon to Hawaii.
While I know it's great to have the summer off from school and to enjoy a break from the classroom while doing some part-time work, this trip felt hard-earned and almost deserved - something I don't know I could say about my summer vacations during high school and even college.
There's just something about a nine-day rest after months of working what seem like endless hours that feels oh-so satisfying. I can't wait for my next vacation. Even if it's sitting in my apartment playing video games, I'll know just how much I earned that time.
Lastly, this year I began - with my wife - the process of searching for a home that will likely play host not only to Tania and I, but also to our first child, whenever he or she comes along.
It is probably one of the scariest things I've ever done, to say the least. There is so much riding on the decision to buy a home, from where it's located and what amenities it has, how much it costs and how we'll structure our loan, to how we'll improve the value for future resale and how we'll structure our budget to ensure we can maintain our monthly bills.
However, as scary as it might be, I've never been more excited. The idea of being a homeowner puts even more things into perspective about where I am in life and what responsibilities truly are.
While this list obviously doesn't encompass all of the highlights and lowlights of my 2009, it certainly sheds light one some of the more prominent things on my mind about the past 12 months. And while I'd like to shed light on my past decade, I'm sure the vast majority of you have much more interesting stories to reflect on.
And with that in mind, as you look back on the last year, or even the last 10 years, no matter what memories you are recalling, be sure to enjoy the view.
rambling over friends and loyalty
7 years ago