This year has been a wild ride. It is strange to think about where I am now, compared to where I was at the beginning of 2017. Some of the changes seem natural. Others were out of left field. A year ago, late December 2016, if you had asked me where I would be today... I don’t know what my answer would have been. Mostly I was thinking about what school I would go to after Columbus State. There were a lot of events that were just over the horizon that were gonna throw me for a loop.

January went about as I had planned. I was dancing 3 or 4 days a week, doing martial arts 3 days, enrolled in 20 hours of school, and working three jobs. In mid February was when things started to go haywire. First, my uncle got sick. We got to visit him him a few times, but within a month he had passed. Right around the time of his passing, I met a woman, LeNora. LeNora changed everything. Suddenly leaving Columbus was far less desirable. I still want to leave Columbus eventually, but the timeline has changed. I started looking at Ohio State as an option for the next step in my education.

The month of April I spent focused on a new relationship, classes and my clients. In May I finished that semester and started the summer semester. The load over the summer was supposed to be lighter, but it wasn't. I ended up focusing more energy on developing my business as well. At this point I was locked into going to OSU, so I was taking some classes specifically preparing me to start there.

June is always a good month for me as it’s the month I started working as a personal trainer back in 2014. I had some good moments with my clients that month, getting them to achieve new goals and moving the needle forward. Those sort of moments help to sustain me through the tough times with the work I am doing.

July I spent mostly grinding through. I did the Westerville 4th of July 5K as Captain America, and I went to the Spider-Man premier as the same. However, the work needed done and I was doing it.

August may have been the highlight of the year. I graduated from Columbus State with an Associates in Exercise Science, my first college degree. I went on vacation with LeNora to Panama City Beach. The first vacation I have taken in years. On that trip we took time to talk about our plans and future. We played in the sun and relaxed. We ate rich food and drank delicious wine. We visited my family, some of whom I have not seen in a while. Finally, we saw the full eclipse on the way back to Ohio.

In the time after we got back from Florida, things have been moving along quickly. I started at OSU and have been focused on my business as much as possible. LeNora started a grad program at Ohio University in Athens. OSU has been a learning experience--the school is massive and unlike anything I have experienced. My business has had ups and downs. There have been some excellent times when I got to really celebrate my clients. However, some personal things happened to me that have affected my mental health.

One of the struggles of being in business for yourself is that things like that can have a greater impact. Having LeNora in Athens has also strained our relationship. We are still doing well. I think we are more in love now than we have ever been, not being able to see her everyday is hard. I know it’s hard on her too because she doesn’t have as much of a support system down there.

By December we both had survived our semester without being too much worse for wear. I took a week long, intensive 60 hour, Wilderness First Responder Certification right after the semester ended. Then LeNora and I went to her family’s for Christmas. Our year was going to end with a winter camping trip in Michigan with my friend Jon, but she has gotten sick. This is not at all what I expected my December to be like, or really any of the year. It’s been a wild ride, and I for one am super excited for 2018.

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