Well, here we are, the closing of another year and the opening of a new one. I don’t know about all of you, but this time of the year always seems to make me reflect on the past year. To think about the good and bad, the gains and losses, which usually leads to some kind of a ranking. Was it the best year ever? the worst year ever? or somewhere in between? I usually end up running away from trying to think too hard about the answer. I am a pretty positive person by nature. Life has thrown me quite a few curve balls, yet I have always had the support and found the inner strength to get past them. So most years end up near the top of the “good” ranking.

I don’t remember too many curve balls in 2018. No major health issues for any of the Dee’s, including the four legged members. We did gain a new set of 4 legs this past August, so that was a pretty big event. We did not win the lottery, or have any other kind of financial wind-fall, but we also did not have any major financial crises. All in all, I guess I can report that other than the addition of Bleau to the family, it was a fairly average year. As I grow longer in the tooth, I find that average can actually be a pretty good thing!

In my younger years, it was all about being the best. Not just striving to be the best, but actually being the best. I don’t think I ever really achieved that status in those years. I was “pretty good” at some things, “average” at others and “quit while I am ahead” for many others! Perhaps it was the failure to attain that “best” category that changed my thinking on life goals. Regardless of the main factor for the change, I am now in “be happy” mode. The thought of being the best at something is no longer in my mind. I still strive to DO my best, but recognize that what is most important is to just enjoy all live has to offer.

The number one thing I strive each and every moment of each and every day to be best at is a husband and father. I know that the competition is very tough. There are lots of men out there striving to be the best at those two tasks. I also believe that there is room for more than one on the top step of the podium. So I do not try and compare myself to other husbands or fathers. I just do my best to observe what works, what doesn’t and apply it to my situation.

This striving to be the best dad or husband is not at all about competition. Quite the opposite. It requires a ton of humility and patience. Things I was severely lacking in my younger years and things I still need to do work on every moment of every day. I have come to realize that all the hardships I went through in the past have allowed me to be blessed with all I have today. A beautiful, smart, loving wife, who is helping to raise a beautiful, smart, loving daughter. I have been given the best of the best and I feel it is now my life’s purpose to nurture and help grow what I have been given.

The interesting thing is, the more I give, the more I get. It is still a huge work in progress, but I am learning to shut my mouth and open my eyes to new ideas. To realize that every human is truly an individual. Things that I may feel or believe are absurd, others feel are 100 percent the right way. It does not mean I have to give up my ideals, or my preferences. It just means that I can respect the differences of others and know that all will be well in the end. As long as someone is not bringing harm to themselves, or someone else, then it is good by me. I have come to realize that one of my largest flaws in the ways of thinking was that “To have control over all that was around me made me safe/happy”. True freedom comes from letting things happen and going with them, not fighting them. I wish I could say that I do this all the time. I still have many times when I am paddling upstream, but the more I practice, the better I become at letting the flow take me where it wants. It an be scary, even terrifying at times, but if I can be patient and strong enough, I find that there are powers much smarter and stronger than I, that will take me down the best route and deliver me at the best spots.

So what does 2019 have in store? I really haven’t a clue. I believe that the future, whether is be 2019 or a future year, will provide changes. Perhaps some of them big changes. I know there is still a lot of learning to be done. Still a lot of work to be done on staying still, staying calm. I believe there will be more good than bad. Most of all, I know there will be love in my life and that makes rolling out of bed all worth it.

Good night from the Keweenaw..