As I reflect on 2013, a lot of things come to mind. This year has been fun, exciting, unique, challenging, and seems to have gone by faster than past years. Time is speeding up. Even with each day lately seeming like it lasts forever, this year is gone, to me, in a flash. So much has happened this year it’s hard to believe it all fit inside of twelve months. There were a few ‘firsts’ in 2013. Maybe a couple of ‘lasts’ as well. We’ll see. But in any event, this was one hell of a year. I would count it as one of my better years and there isn’t much at all I’d change.
In 2013 I started my blog. It’s not that great, but a few of the stories were pretty cool and got some great feedback. I didn’t keep up with it as much as I had planned when I started it, but it’s still there, like now, getting an update once in a while. Perhaps in 2014 I’ll update it more often.
I got my first tattoo in 2013. It wasn’t planned and I’m sure it’s my last. I like it, but since I can check that off my list of crazy things I’ve done, there’s no need to get another one. Maybe. We’ll see. It happened on a date night with my wife that started out at T.G.I. Friday’s. From there, we were going to shoot some pool, but that place was closed. We walked to another bar that wasn’t my wife’s style, so left there and ended up in a tattoo parlor. I’m still not sure how it all happened.
All of my kids did some spectacular things in 2013. I will highlight two things, one by each of my ‘big kids.’ My oldest son was accepted to Collegiate High School, so instead of going to traditional high school his junior and senior years, he will go to the local college and graduate with a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree at the same time. That’s pretty amazing to me. My oldest daughter graduated from high school. What makes this so incredible is that she did it in between her freshman and sophomore years at college. She skipped her senior year at high school, went off to college, did what she needed to do, came back and walked with her class. Awesome.
I spent a lot of time traveling in 2013. Mostly back and forth from Ft Walton Beach to Orlando, two trips to Texas, then off to Afghanistan where I’ve been traveling all over for the last four and a half months. I could write for days about all the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, and people I’ve met since getting to Afghanistan. I’ve got stories of helicopter flights, riding on a British C-130, IDF’s at Bagram, rocket attacks at Kandahar, buildings shaking harder as each ‘boom’ gets closer. I’ve got stories of seeing people in Afghanistan that I’ve served with before that I just happen to run into here, stories of friendships and bonds with people who mean the world to me, but would have never met otherwise if not being here.
I ran my first marathon in 2013, the Marine Corps Marathon. I wrote some new poetry. I read more books than I normally would. I quit smoking cigarettes. I got promoted. I added two new countries to the list of places I’ve been to. I had lunch at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which was pretty cool. There are so many things that make 2013 one of the best years ever: adventures, excitement, new friendships, new places, and once in a life time opportunities.
But my best reflections of 2013 are of my family. While I’m off being a tourist at war, my wife is home taking care of the house, the kids, the bills, the dog, the lawn, the things that break, the things that need to be replaced, and everything else. Without her love and support I would never to be able to do the things I do and have the experiences I have. Like those of us serving in Afghanistan, my wife doesn’t get a day off back home. I have always said, and will say again, she has the harder job when I’m deployed- I get to shoot if necessary. For all my adventures and experiences, as fun as they are, I can’t wait to get back home to Diana the kids. My thoughts are with them and my heart is with them. And before long, I’ll be back with them.
To everyone that was part of my life in 2013, thank you. Especially to my wife and kids, you have made me what I am and who I am. Looking forward to wonderful 2014. Happy New Year to you all!!!
Good day and God bless.