The End of All Things 2016

Greetings and salutations!

The final days of the year are ticking away. Christmas has passed, and thankfully the Christmas tunes that jingle all the way from October through the end of the year have exited and no longer have ears they’re dingling for. Our decorations remain up for the time being, mostly became I’m enamored with our laser that sprays green and red dots all over our home, but they shan’t last beyond January 1st…

What a crazy, crazy year it has been. Seriously. Tell me that thinking back to January of 2016 doesn’t make your head spin… 11.9 months ago I was seeing Michael Bublé with my wife, trying to find a home to setup shop, and enjoying the break from racing season. And now I’m finding projects around the house to feel more settled, have no concert plans, and am avidly pursuing mountain biking and trail running with a fiery passion of 1000 suns! OK, maybe just one sun, but I’ve actually enjoyed using the fall and pieces of winter to try out some new stuff.

I wouldn’t say that my race routine has become dull, but I really have enjoyed picking up the new skills and techniques associated with trail riding – trust me, it’s completely different. The only thing road riding and mountain biking have in common is two wheels. and even that is a stretch (29 inch wheels are massive compared to what sleek road bikes offer). Plus, it’s always good to sharpen some new skills and keep your mind fresh while exploring new things. It’s fun picking up something that you’re terrible at and then seeing the progression over the years.

bike

A lot of people are very glad to see this year go. Frankly, I feel like most years people are perfectly content with its departure… This year felt much heavier than those in the past couple of years. The election – pfff, the election was a steaming hot mess. Crooked Crony ran against Terrible Trump, and yet Vader ended up winning anyway, and still no one is happy. There’s a major imbalance between the House and the Senate, and terrorist attacks around the world have only gotten worse. Police get reprimanded for using too much force when a kid draws a gun on school grounds, but then they get in trouble when riots erupt and people die and they do nothing… the state of things probably isn’t better than it was a year ago.

But all is not lost! There is always hope, and despite the negative attitudes of many people this year, there is a ton to be grateful for. One would be that we still live where we live and don’t have to wonder where our food or shelter is coming from. We complain our cars need maintenance but really don’t take time to think that some don’t even have water available, let alone enough resources to waste on car transportation. We aren’t really known for being grateful when our year turns sour.

The older I get, the more I realize how much I have taken for granted. Friends, work, my wife, my hobbies – I just assume all of it will be there tomorrow when the sun rises… the nice thing is that in the eternal scope of things, I have nothing to worry about. Each thing that happens every day in nature, our professional lives, and across the billions of stars has all been architected. It’s hard to argue with hope like that…

I haven’t ever really enjoyed the transition into a new year. Yes, you get to plan out new vacations, races, days away from the office, and fun things to do, but it’s also a blank calendar filled with the unknown, and it’s effing cold. Ugh! Goodbye sunlight. If you’re like me and the unknown often stresses you out, then you hear where I’m coming from. The new year is an excellent chance to reflect on your successes (you did finish another IRONMAN and buy a house, after all), and to not let those slip away. The good memories are the ones that become sweeter as each passing year flies by…

I’ve been very puzzled by a phenomenon that I’ve had a very hard time letting go of. How the heck was my first IRONMAN the best to date? Yeah, I dropped an astounding 17 minutes on the bike this year but my marathon was miserable and the slowest time I’ve put up. That’s called a win-lose… Last year was a rain cluster from heck in the frigid Canadian air so there’s no consolation there either. If I’m training more, shouldn’t I be getting better? So I decided that maybe I’m defining “better” the wrong way…I can now bike much further with ease, I smashed a 10k as part of the Donner Lake triathlon at a screaming 6:50 pace, and at the end of the day racing just wasn’t the priority that it was last year – so, I’ve forgiven myself, plus my overall IRONMAN time wasn’t the slowest it had been, so there’s that. Better athlete? Check. More responsibilites? Definitely check. Exponential increase enjoyment out of life? Check.

It appears that all is right with the world :-)

Humble pie is the most nutritious and filling of all baked treats.

I’ve learned a lot in 2016 and I find it troublesome that people blame “the year” for their problems – really, shouldn’t you feel empowered enough to make changes where you see them needing to be made? I feel like you should – that’s on you dear “2016 woe-sayers.” And yes, a lot of well-renowned people have passed away this year, but death is a natural part of life, although that doesn’t remove the sadness. Everyone knows this. Ask Simba in the Lion King…

I’ve never quite related to people who think that the world is ending because XYZ star they didn’t actually know passed away. Yea, it’s sad or disappointing. I’ve been to two funerals for people this year who I had known my entire life. That breaks my heart. “Superstars” that make poor life decisions? Doesn’t even phase me. Definitely condolences to the families, because I know what that feels like, but the world keeps turning just like it always has.

2016 has been great – great in fantastic and terrible ways – but 2017 is a book ripe with opportunity. Embrace it. Write your story. Prepare for the change in chapters.

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Picture credit.

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