2008 has been a year of both joy and sorrow. Many sad things occurred, but so did many very happy things. I guess the saying is true that you have to take the good with the bad (and I'm pretty sure that's scriptural as well). And given what this year has been for me on the good side I'm willing to do that I suppose. Not that I'd have much choice in the matter of course.
This year saw the deaths of loved ones, and the deaths of friends' loved ones. Some of them were prepared for, others were not. Some were taken late in life, others were taken far too early in life. I pray for all those that have lost someone close this year as I do feel your pain sincerely.
This year I have battled with gall stones, which I discovered back in March, and several toothaches, not to mention the many colds and flu-like bugs I've contracted through the year. I actually had a gall bladder attack last night.
There have been hard financial problems at times through the year as well, but none so bad that I was drowned by them. God kept His hand on me through this all.
But while those negative things did happen, and probably more that I don't recall at the moment or have blocked out, many positive things took place as well.
Having the gall bladder attack I had back in March finally put a name to what I had been suffering for some time, and that was a relief. I knew how to treat it and what to avoid to prevent the attacks. It also got me out of the house, got me losing weight, and got me focused on other things. I found a dentist I love and began a long climb toward some much needed work to get rid of some problems that had been plaguing me.
I was also offered a job with a generous salary in May, and even though it didn't work out, the experience of being flown down to Georgia, put up in a hotel with a rental car, all on their dime while they wooed me was something I wouldn't trade. It was very flattering.
I made it to two comic conventions, one of which I set up a table and sold my first comic book. Both trips were very exciting, though Chicago had to be the more exciting one for me being my first and all. Not to mention scoring a gig not fifteen minutes into the show!
I got to reconnect with family, including my dad whom I hadn't seen in several years. I also got to meet so many people I had only conversed with online. I got to meet Chuck Kennedy and Scott Simmons, and Chuck Moore, the Ringtail Cafe trio, Bill Hickey, all the people I met from Digital Webbing, Lance Stahlberg, Mike from The Sire, and so many more. I got to sit in on interviews with Hollywood composers and directors, and I got to screen the animated Batman film they showed at WW Chicago.
It was a very exciting year, and I did more traveling in this one year than I've done in over half a decade easy. And the wonderful thing is it's only a beginning!
I fought a lot of personal demons as well this year, and overcame them. For the past four years I had been in a deep state of depression because of things that had happened to me and things people had done to me. I had lost my direction and for many intents and purposes my will. But this year I was blessed and able to bounce back from all of that and once again see the world and the future in a positive light.
2008 has truly been up and down, but for me I think it was more up than down. It may not have answered all my problems, but it set me on a path to be able to climb even further up and continue on for an even stronger 2009. I see great things ahead for me, and though I'm sure there will be many more pitfalls and stumblingblocks, I am determined to look past those and see the prize on the other side.
2008 is coming to a close, and it's at times like these when we tend to make resolutions (which are inevitably broken), recollect and look forward (though we often begin looking backward not too much later), and feel the promise of a new day and a new beginning (though we soon remember we live in reality and one day change does not a huge difference make). So with all that in mind, I challenge you all to take off the parentheses of those statements and strive for a new year without the second guessing.
As for me, well, I do have New Year's resolutions, and I hope that I live up to them. I'm not going to stress out if I don't, but I'm thinking of them more like promises to myself to make some changes rather than meaningless resolutions to mark the changing of the year. After all, tomorrow won't be or feel much different than today. So it's important to determine in your mind to make changes and stick to them, not for the sake of the new year, but because you want to and need to.
But even though tomorrow won't be much different, it really is a chance for a new beginning, to wipe the slate clean and start over. Sure, bill collectors and problems and illnesses that are with us today will still be there tomorrow, but our attitude and our outlook can change if we allow it to.
I don't want to get all preachy, but I get these Scriptures of the Day delivered to me, and appropriately, this one came today:
Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
The church I used to go to had a saying when I first started, and I still have the little lapel pin with the phrase on it, "Today, A New Beginning", meaning that every day in the Lord is a new beginning; a chance to start over because God is a merciful God and a forgiving God.
The same can be true in all walks of life. We allow ourselves to become too bogged down with the past and forget to look forward. If we are alive and breathing we are blessed. And if we're alive then we still have a chance to get away from our past, even if that past is right on our heels. Every day we have a choice to either look back or look forward, and I for one choose to look forward.
Okay, enough with the preaching, you get the point. In 2009 many things will change for me, I hope and pray. I have to make changes to take myself where I want and need to go, and the changing of the year is as good a starting point as any, wouldn't you say?
The first change, and this one is a very, very small one, is my signoff for this blog. This post will be the last time you read "B-Out" on this blog. It's played out and I'm bored with it. What I'll replace with I have no clue. It may simply be "B", or it may be nothing at all. It may be something new every day, or it may be another signoff or catch phrase of some sort, I don't know. I guess I'll find out tomorrow along with the rest of you.
Like I said, it's a small, insignificant change, but it will mark the beginning of more to come as the year progresses. Big things are in store for 2009, personally, professionally and creatively. Whether or not I achieve them all is all up to me, as are any changes you wish to make entirely up to you.
So I raise a glass of egg nog (or non nog for all you vegans) to you and yours that midnight tonight will signify more than just a ball dropping and crowds cheering, but a real change in our lives and our world for the better. So if you have that special someone near, grab them and give them a big kiss, or if you don't (like me - maybe that will change in '09 as well?) pat your friends on their backs or give them hugs, and cherish the moment. Then do your best to wake up renewed and filled with vigor before reality sets, and the day job beckons again.
I wish you all, each and every one of you, a very Happy New Year, and I pray that 2009 will be a successful, enriching and blessed year for us all.