A Brave New Year

A New Year is upon us, and in honor of 2013, I feel compelled to reflect on the year to come.  Aldous Huxley reference aside, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a big year… I will graduate college, (hopefully) get a job, and begin my life as a real adult.  Exciting, albeit scary, stuff.  Now I know that new years resolutions get a bad rap, but I’m all about them (how can you be annoyed with people who want to change their lives for the better?). Therefore I, along with the rest of the world, will be starting this year with some resolutions of my own.  I also believe in accountability, and making goals public is a surefire way to be held accountable.  And so I give you my goals for the year…

My cliché goal for 2013 is with regard to my diet.  If you’ve ever spent more than 5 minutes with me, you probably know that I love food.  And if you have ever had the pleasure of enjoying a meal with me, you probably know that I’m capable of taking down an impressive amount of food.  For a long time, I’ve used my high activity level as an excuse for eating whatever I wanted.  But after taking an entire course in school on the American food system, as well as reading up on how these processed foods mess with the metabolism, I’ve realized that I do need to start paying more attention to the quality of the foods I am eating.  That being said, my goals for 2013 in my eating life include cooking more meals at home (apologies in advance to my roommate for the apartment smelling like broccoli and mushrooms), cutting out processed foods, and buying only organic meat and dairy.  I also plan to limit my beer consumption to special occasions… and to exclude random Thursday nights as special occasions.

My second goal has more to do with my life as an athlete. While I’m still finalizing my plans for after graduation, I am remaining committed to my goal of competing at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.  Accordingly, I’m looking to pursue a job that will give me the flexibility to train, travel, and compete (sounds nice, doesn’t it?).  With that said, I also realize that I’m going to need to look to other places to help support my ever-growing athletic budget.  Though I’ve received a lot of help over the last few years from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, dare2tri, Variety of Illinios, and my family and friends, to get to the next level I’m going to need to start tapping into more corporate sponsors.  This will mean putting myself out there and doing two things that I hate to do—talking myself up, and asking for help.  But first, it means admitting that I am worthy of supporting, something that I’m coming close to finally doing.

My most important goal for 2013 has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with other people.  Here’s the story: between school, work, internships, and triathlons, I lead a pretty busy life.  Balancing all of this for the last few years has made me very independent, and has taught me to be content with being by myself.  But it has also caused me to lose touch with people that I care about.  I let important relationships grow distant, have allowed too much time to go by in between visits home, and convinced myself that I was too busy to pick up the phone to call my best friend.  I guess that spending hours alone on the bike and in the gym, had made me a little bit selfish.  And it wasn’t until I started reflecting on the year I had that I realized I wanted to make a change.  But 2012 was a tough year—from relatives that I’ve loved my whole life, to beloved camp friends who were taken from the world far too early, is seemed as though the entire year brought one devastating loss after another.  Each of these people took a part of me with them, and each served as a reminder that life is too precious to not stay in contact with the people that matter.  In light of these tragedies, I decided that I want to be remembered not for the things that I accomplish, but for how I treat others.  So this year, my resolution is to be a better friend.  To call the people I care about just to see how their day is going.  To reach out to friends I haven’t seen in years to catch up on life.  To say yes to spontaneous plans.  To make seeing my family a higher priority.  To say “I love you” without being afraid of whether or not I’ll hear it back.  At the very least, this is my tribute to those who can no longer do so.

I am looking forward to everything that 2013 has to offer.  I know that this year will bring many changes, but I am ready to face them head on.  Thanks to all who made 2012 a year to remember.  May this New Year bring you good health, happiness, and love.

Cheers!

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