I don’t know…maybe it’s just me. At this time of year, I delightedly look back on the year and take stock of the experiences that impacted my life. We get running so hard and fast at times that it’s easy to overlook significant things that occur to you. I try very hard as it approaches my birthday and a new year, to become just a little retrospective. I’d like to share that with you…
1. Certainly, the most impactful thing for me in 2011 was losing my dad in March. Coming into the year, we knew it was going to happen. Just not when. The ability to say goodbye over time and be with him when he passed is something I will never forget. An experience like that changes you in many ways, specifically in contemplating your own mortality and moving on without someone who has always been there. I also gained so much from the love and support of family and friends. It’s one thing to think you know you have it; it’s another to see it in action.
2. I had the opportunity to return to my roots. After 40 years, I returned to Bogotá, Colombia in both a professional and personal way. I had the pleasure of speaking to 300 business executives in a conference held in Bogotá. After that, I spent a glorious week with my mother’s family re-acquainting and meeting family for the first time as an adult. I made many friends in Bogotá, both family and non-family. I This experience is hard for me to put in words, I will be returning soon and look forward to enhancing those relationships and sharing them with my wife and kids.
3. In addition to Bogotá, I found myself in New York City, Boston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas.
4. I saw my daughter graduate college in May. This was an amazing moment for Barb and me. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding her in my arms moments after her birth. To watch her reach the dream of becoming a college graduate was simply awesome.
5. I passed my final exam and earned my Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation. This was a 5-year process and I’m looking forward to next year where I can attend a class and NOT have to take the test!
6. I gained many new clients, colleagues, and friends in 2011. Too numerous to list, but you know who you are. This is the fabric of our lives. Each year, we need to add important people in our lives to enrich it. We also need to cultivate the “old” ones and I hope I did that.
7. I learned to cook. If you ask Barb and the girls, they may say this in and of itself is a minor (or even major) miracle.
8. We added a new “member” to our family this year. Tati was our Rotary exchange student for 3 and half months and she became a lifetime fixture in our family. We call her our “Colombian” daughter. She and her family have become great additions to our extended family.
9. Family “stuff” – I continue to be amazed with what great daughters I have. Mindy and Kelli are doing great in college, getting jobs (woot woot); and becoming incredible young adults. I’m living with my mother again. Only this time, I guess she is living with us. The transition from losing her husband of 52 years to moving in with her son is challenging. But things continue to go well and you even more so realize the value of family.
10 . The best for last. I celebrated my 25th anniversary of being married to the best human on the planet (to all you other humans, I hope you understand where I’m coming from!). Barb and I have been together now over 30 years in total. How she continues to put up with me, I will never know, but I can assure you I am eternally thankful that she does. Going through life with the one you love is a true blessing, and I am very much blessed.
2011 may have been one of the most incredible years I’ve ever had. Filled with joy, sadness, and a multitude of other emotions; filled with significant events and passings; and filled with experiences that will never be forgotten.
What about you? How was your year? I encourage you to take a look back on your year and reflect on the good, the bad, and everything in between. Consider how you have grown personally and professionally, and how that will catapult you into 2012.
On behalf of my family, I want to wish each one of you a joyous, prosperous, and exciting 2012. Happy New Year!