With any year, there are ups and downs, 2012 was no different but what was different were the lessons I learned this past year.
I don’t know if it because I am getting older, wiser or sappier, whatever the case the lessons learned in 2012 will serve me well moving forward.
From the people of God’s Country, I learned about heritage and taking care of our neighbors. When daddy became ill, the people of my hometown stepped up, they reaffirmed their love for my family and held us up when our days seemed grim.
As he has every year of my life, my father taught me lessons again this year. His lesson for 2012 was to never give up. In all truth my father’s illness was very grave, it could have easily ended much differently. All my life my father has taught me that quitting is not an option, this year he reinforced that with his daily struggle to live.
Through difficult circumstances I was reminded that having a big brother is one of God’s greatest gifts.
Young Denali Botolino taught me about dignity as he suffered until his last breath with childhood pancreatic cancer. Denali’s battle was fought with dignity and grace, not only by him but his family as well.
Over 7,000 strangers taught me about compassion through a Facebook group designed as a prayer page for a child suffering from an unfair diagnosis.
My wonderful niece Chelsea reminded me that our best futures are ahead of us. This year her college graduation provided reason for celebration, an excitement for the future and renewed anticipation for what can happen if we set our sites on achieving our goals.
Watching the Olympics helped me to remember that crying with pride is ok, success is a good thing, but making the attempt is what is most important.
My bosses have taught me how to be a better boss, how to honor employees and help them find their excellence.
My nephew Zack continues to teach me to live bold and proud of who I am, his example makes me a better man.
I was reminded over and over again just how ugly politics can be, on a national, state and local level. I have found that the ones who have the greatest concerns for what others are doing often have the deepest cracks in their own glass houses.
Sitting with friends on a summer Sunday, laughing, telling stories and acting like pubescent misfits is good for the soul and keeps you young at heart.
In 2012, I learned about absolute fear with a Friday afternoon phone call. A favorite 20-somethings fought for his life in April and won. The fear that I felt with my Florida family was inconsolable, I have never been a parent but standing in the kitchen for an entire weekend pacing and waiting for any bit of news took me to a place that I don’t want to return to ever again.
I realized change is often a good thing and sometimes needed to grow.
I am renewed to find that while new friends are awesome, the rich bonds of youth and years of history make for the best partnerships moving through life.
While 2012 had its problems, it’s setbacks and it’s pitfalls, all in all it was a good year.
The lessons I learned weren’t really learned at all, they have always been with me and in my heart. 2012, just reminded me that it is the people in our lives who make this all worthwhile.
It is friends and family, sharing the good, the bad and the mundane. Our friends and families are there to pick us up when we fall, provide a shoulder when we shed a tear and bring us the greatest joys of life. The lessons of 2012 are about life, they will be with me in 2013 and beyond, and I hope they will be with you as well.
Bring it on 2013, let’s see what lessons we are in store for next!