New Years, 2013

All is quiet on New Year’s Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day
– U2

2012 was a topsy turvy year for me. There was a lot of good, and there was some loss and some chaos as well. I am grateful for all of it though. I am grateful for the vantage point I have, today, right now, sitting in my bed, typing this post. I am optimistic about the future and what it holds for me and am happy for such abundance of good in my life.

This last year, I achieved the rank of shodan in Aikido. As a small boy, I wanted to “do karate” and often ran around my house in my night robe, belt wrapped around it like an obi, doing karate chops to imaginary opponents. I was fascinated with martial arts. My grandfather brought me to a karate tournament at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1969 or ’70 and that spurred my interest. After many starts and stops I was able to finally get consistent in my Aikido practice and test successfully for shodan with two of my other dojo mates, Aldo and Nancy. We tested twice, even, because Sensei broke from his teacher and affiliated with another Aikido organization. The first time we tested in March, we did not have the proper paperwork to have our belt ranks officially recognized by the main governing Aikido body in Japan. So we tested again in June under Hiroshi Kato Sensei from Japan and that made it official. Sadly, I was only to meet Kato Sensei the one time. He passed in December of 2012.

I lost love in 2012. I met Leah in 2009 on Twitter of all places. We quickly found that so much between the two of us and we decided to meet. This was no small task. Leah lives in Iowa. We found us drawn to each other. It was uncanny, beautiful, and wondrous. We spent almost 3 years together, but because of some things that happened early on, and because I couldn’t get over these things. We parted. It wasn’t my choice. This was probably the hardest thing I had to deal with all year.

My son played excellent football in 2012. I got to see him most of the season this year and I was so happy to be able to be there. He is an awesome football player. He walks with confidence, plays hard and plays well. He supports his team, motivates them and gets motivated by them. I am sure that these are qualities that he will have for the rest of his life, cultivated on the football field, refined through life’s lessons.

in 2012 I experienced Hawaii. I was blessed to have a friend that lived there and kept asking me to come out. He said to me a few years ago, “Many years ago a friend told me to come out and visit him when I lived on the mainland. I kept on telling him I would but never did. I don’t want you to make the same mistake as I did.” I am so happy that I listened to him. I was devastated from my break up and Jim’s offer could not have come at a more perfect time. I remember at one point in my trip writing a facebook status that said simply, “I can’t stop smiling.” Hawaii refreshed my heart and soul. The sheer beauty of the island, the water, and the camaraderie of my friend Jim really helped to give me a huge reset.

In 2012 I built an altar. Well, I designed an altar. It is a wooden hanging piece that my practice sword sits on, and my calligraphy rests against. My friend Richard from my Aikido school helped me with this and did a lot of the work joining the sides of the frame. He also helped me take my design and make it real, mentoring me through the small project. This may seem like an odd thing to put into my list of things that are memorable to me, but it really isn’t. This came at a time when I really needed a friend, and really wanted to be able to erect something to acknowledge my milestone achievement of achieving shodan. This was shortly after Leah and I broke up so this was also much needed therapy and catharsis for me.

In 2012 my work world got crazy. My team lead went on maternity leave for three months in late August. My coworker and I were left to tend the farm while she was gone and, well… it went kind of bat shit crazy. But I got through it. I’ve always appreciated her but the time she spent away gave me even more of an appreciation for what she does.

In 2012 I bought my son his first car. His mom and I watched him learn to drive, get his license, and now we get to see him pull up and drive off in his 2000 Subaru Outback. It’s a weird milestone to see. I’m filled with cheer and dread. But if Steven is anything, he is very responsible. So this is an awesome thing to see. My son is growing up.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I found love in 2012. I’ve known Ro for 5 or 6 years now. I’ve worked, talked, joked, laughed with her. She was involved for the longest time with her man, and I was with Leah as well. But in the early summer of 2012 we found each of us alone. We had dinner shortly before I left for Hawaii and then again, when I came back. By our second dinner it was apparent that we have more things in common than we knew what to do with and, well… sparks just flew. We’ve been together since then and haven’t looked back. We ended 2012 and started 2013 together in Jenner and, well, the world is our oyster. It’s funny how we can know someone for so long, and then, when opportunity presents itself, we can look at someone at just a slightly different angle, and see the world in them.

I am looking forward to this next year. There is a lot to do and a lot to live for. I will look forward to creating, conversing, being healthy, happy, and enjoying all the things that we can and should enjoy here. Happy New Year!

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