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I caught myself thinking the other day, “I can’t believe 2009 is almost over.  It seems like it just flew by…” and then I thought, “What a stupid saying.  It’s just as long as any other year.”

2009 was full of anything and everything.  Wonderful new beginnings, tragic endings, and comforting normalcy all mushed together is what made this year fly by.  So I’m taking some time to reflect on it all; I wanted to share some memories and musings, as well as put some commitments for 2010 in writing.

The year started off in great style at a tiny jazz club (Small’s actually) in NYC, and then New Year’s Day in the city with my good friend Adam Walker.  What a great trip that was!  I spent a week in beautiful upstate NY and Vermont, and it was so relaxing and calming.  This actually turned out to by my only trip out of the state this year, so I am very grateful that I got to travel.  Unfortunately, I did not have much to come home to.  I had graduated from UNT only three weeks earlier, without any solid job prospects, and not even a home to call my own.  Things were looking pretty bleak and to be honest I was going a little stir crazy.

It didn’t take long for things to turn around though.  By the second week of January, I was training for an internship with Thomson Reuters.  It felt pretty strange to be a 29 year old intern, but really it was the best foot in the door I could find.  However, it turns out that software support for corporate tax software is not my calling.  Luckily, I was offered a position at a small healthcare consulting firm, and I began that journey in June.  So far things are going well at SCA.  However, I was rather surprised at how slowly I learn new things these days, and how short my attention span is.  Training for this line of work is pretty grueling, and my thirty-year-old brain is no longer the sponge it used to be.  The company is unbelievable – the owner is beyond generous, the benefits are better than any I’ve heard of, and I really enjoy my coworkers.

The summer, however, brought a lot of goodbyes.  On June 9th, I received a phone call at work that a pivotal member of our circle of friends had suddenly, tragically, died.  Aaron Wuensch, 25, was unaware of his heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  He was the healthiest person I knew – an award-winning swimmer, biker, and runner – he had just completed a triathlon in May.  Needless to say, our large group of close-knit friends grieved and continue to grieve for Aaron and his family.  To rub salt into the wound, my good friend Josh’s father died two weeks later.  I didn’t expect it, but I was quite moved at Steve’s funeral.  I had only met him twice, but the lessons he passed to his sons gave me a lot to think about for two reasons: That man loved his wife (Bonita).  It was evident in every account from his friends and family that he was a virtuous man who knew the meaning of the word “honor.”  Moreover, he passed this on to his sons by teaching them that “the greatest gift you can give to your children is to love their mother.”  How true, and what a wonderful way to teach your children what a healthy relationship is.  I truly hope that I find love like that someday.

More goodbyes followed when my good friend Josh left for Germany (he is spending one year working abroad), and then Sarah left the same week for a year in France.  Now Josh Ballard has followed suit!  I cannot wait to be re-united with my dear friends in Europe this coming March.  Even more goodbyes from my musician friends: Bookman joined the Navy, Matt Timm is cruising the Pacific on a cruise ship, and even Tom was all over Asia for several months.  I am getting very good at Skype and writing letters!

Summer rolled on.  My brother and his wife visited for a full week and it was wonderful to reconnect with them.  My mother put together a fantastic surprise birthday celebration for me.  Boy did I feel loved!  I was able to move into my own place, just a short  drive from work.  I do love it up here, although I miss the comraderie that came with having my dear friends so close in Denton.  Living alone sure does teach you a lot about yourself!  I will save that for another blog!  The move has brought with it some new friends though, as well as becoming closer with old friends.  Joe and Lauren and their friends have been such a positive influence on me, and we have such a great time together.  I am truly grateful for all of my friends, old and new.

This fall has been fairly uneventful by comparison.  I am getting settled in at work and finally feel like I know what I’m doing.  I love living so close to Dallas; there is always something fun to do, and when I don’t feel like doing anything, I have my own space to cook, read, entertain, and do anything my heart desires – something I have never experienced before.  I have discovered that I enjoy golf (well really I just love being outdoors and golf courses provide some excellent scenery), and have been able to bond with my stepdad over a few rounds this year.  I played in my first golf tournament, held to raise funds for a scholarship in Aaron’s name.

I have also spent some time helping others this year.  I have joined the Young Republicans group in Dallas, and I hope to find more opportunities to serve the GOP through this organization.  At the very least, they know how to have fun!  Operation Kindness, a no-kill animal shelter, gets at least few hours of my time each month as well.  I have to admit that I began volunteering for selfish reasons – I miss Winnie terribly and I needed some kitty love!  There is plenty of it at OK!  This organization is phenomenal, well-organized, and caring beyond belief.  I keep wanting to take home a 3-legged or one-eyed animal.  A bleeding heart, I am.  I have also spent a day with Habitat for Humanity and will hopefully be up for many more.

So far I have tentative plans to travel to Germany and France in March of 2010 (I am buying my plane tickets this week), and I am thrilled to finally be going to Europe.  The opportunity never presented itself before now, and what an opportunity!  Three friends living in Europe at the same time means it’s time for me to cross the pond.

I have also been reflecting on my personal goals for 2010, namely the image that I wish present and how I can improve myself.  Fitness goals are right up there with that, as well as financial, career, and long term goals.  Until now, I have felt that my life was not my own to live.  The possibilities are endless.