If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been coming here for a while, you already know that the only holiday I truly love is Halloween. But New YearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always at the very least liked. I realize itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s technically just another day, but it represents to me a time to reflect and measure growth.
A clean start. A fresh slate. Another chance to turn it all around. (Word to Vanilla Sky)
And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a time to look back at the past 365 days and gauge how far youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come, and what you want to accomplish by the next time you change the calendar hanging on your wall. Day to day, we simply donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the time Ã¢â‚¬â€œ or simply donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to take inventory of our lives. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re too busy in the grind, trying to get ahead or simply trying to keep our heads above water.
For me personally, 2009 was a trying year. For the first time in my life, I suffered through a series of persistent Jose Reyes-esque injuries that have made it difficult for me to be as physically active as I like to be. Of course, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ridiculous to feel sorry for myself when I think of the courage and strength shown by my friends at Camp Sundown.
The lousy economy caused a general uneasiness that cast a pallor over a day job that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve traditionally enjoyed, and I doubt IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m alone there. But again, to simply still have a job in this day and age, much less a job I usually like, can definitely be considered a blessing.
And, of course, my sports year was mediocre at best, horrible at worst. I was especially sobered to mourn the death of Arturo Gatti. On the bright side, wellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ maybe LeBron James, by some miracle, rides a white horse to town in July.
I think you get my point. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always a silver lining to be found, and the good generally outweighs the bad. I really do believe that every day you wake up and take in a breath is a blessing, even if the air you breathe is of the New Jersey variety.
And even if I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get to run any marathons this year, to make any huge memories like that, there are always special things to take, personal things, that make you glad to be alive.
— Running up a mountain in the icy Virginia winter, and then in the hazy Upstate NY summer.
— Taking in a ballgame on a warm June evening in Atlanta.
— Feeling so proud of two good friends and my only cousin at a trio of wonderful weddings.
— Cruising down the West Side at 4 a.m. with the windows open on many a summer night.
— Watching Incubus set the mood from the 14th row on the eve of my 30th birthday.
— Listening to Drive (above) at the moment I turned 30 driving south after the concert.
— Discovering that an escape to Sugar Loaf for a day sure as heck beats taxis and subways.
— Getting scared out of my skin Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and doing some scaring myself Ã¢â‚¬â€œ at the Forest of Fear.
— Making some terrific new friends, including a cadre of lovable Mets curmudgeons.
There are always beautiful things and experiences to discover in life, just sometimes in different ways than weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re accustomed to, if we keep an open mind. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a great photographer, but pictures of some of what I mentioned above are in the album to the right.
One truly special thing that happened for me this year was the relaunch of SportsAngle back in July. At that point, I found I had grown comfortable enough in my life and my skin to bring it back Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with the help of the greatest Webmaster in the business Ã¢â‚¬â€œ after a three-or-so-year hiatus. Things have changed in that time Ã¢â‚¬â€œ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had to learn how to use Ã¢â‚¬Å“TwitterÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a true blessing for me to again have a forum to talk about the things that truly matter to me Ã¢â‚¬â€œ namely, high school basketball, Arturo Gatti, Jay-Z and horror movies.
As I mentioned above, I turned 30 this past summer. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite understand until it starts happening that the older you get, the faster time passes: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s great irony. You start heading downhill long before youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re over the hill, and the years just fly by.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what makes it so important to recognize the sweet things in life as they happen, and to share them with people who matter.
At the same time, you need to stay focused. The great thing about life is that you get out of it what you put into it. I feel like as 2010 approaches, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m ready to put more into it than ever. I feel ready to take the things IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve learned this year, the experiences IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had both positive and otherwise, and truly make things happen in the New Year. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m ready to get stronger, faster, smarter, and to continue to shape my world the way I believe it should be shaped.
And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m gratified to have those of you who I care about along for the ride.
So as a final sentiment as the year and the decade ends, God bless you all. Please be safe tonight, and after tonight. Cherish the things that matter, and let go of the things that donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a magical world, my friends.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go exploring Ã¢â‚¬Â¦