I’ve thought about this quite a bit, and I think I’m willing to say that this has been the best year of my life. If not the best, certainly the most significant. I can say without a doubt that I’m not the same person that I was on January 1st. And I don’t mean this as hyperbole, I really feel that my outlook on almost all aspects of life is completely different.
In January, I made the decision to change jobs and move to Colorado. At this time, I was still the old me. I was doing it because I was tired of my company, and tired of central Texas summers. I had a dream of early retirement, but no supporting plan. I had no idea that over the next year I would make such significant changes to my life.
In March, just a day aften I completed my resume and posted it online, I conveniently received an email from an old co-worker friend who had a position open at his company. He was in Colorado Springs, so it seemed like fate. Within 2 weeks I interviewed, got the offer, and accepted.
Also in March, I sold my car. I hope that I’ll never own one again. It was around this time that I began to better understand the world’s environmental crisis, so getting rid of my car was no longer for frugality (although there is a nice money-saving benefit), it was primarily to reduce my ecological footprint. I started to realize that everything I do to the world will affect the live’s of my kids and eventually their kids. I can’t live selfishly using up their resources, and polluting their air and water.
In April, my wife flew to Colorado and picked out our new house. It was everything we wanted: Smaller, with view of the mountains. It’s close enough to my job and the grocery store so that I can bike, and it’s near a park for the kids.
In May, I quit my job and took about a month off before starting my next job. It was bliss. At the end of May, I drove up to Colorado ready to start my new life. My family stayed home for a week to close on our old house.
In June, my life changed forever. A few hours after my wife and kids arrived in Colorado, my daughter had a seizure. We rushed her to the hospital, and they eventually decided to fly her by helicopter to Denver. My wife flew with her, and I drove. It was the longest hour of my life. At this point, she was in an induced coma, and breathing from a machine. For the first time in my life, I realized I can’t take for granted everything I’ve been blessed with.
For the next 24 hours she remained unconscious in the PICU breathing through a tube, and I never left her side. I slept one hour over the next 2 nights, and just watched her chest go up and down with the rhythm of the breathing machine. When she finally woke up and was breathing on her own, her first word was “Dadoo” (daddy).
Before this event, I used to get frustrated (and sometimes even angry) when my daughter woke up at 4:30 in the morning. Now, I just smile. Literally, I lay there in the dark and smile for a few seconds being thankful for my life. This is why I view this year as such a great year – because I finally woke up out of my daze and started to perceive the world as the amazing place that it is. I talk a lot about living a deliberate life, and this is what I mean.
In October we became millionaires but it was surprisingly unimportant.
The rest of the year has been wonderful. My family and I are just enjoying the new life that we created. I’ve been with my wife since we were 16 years old, but I think we’re more connected now than ever before because there’s more clarity on the deliberate life we want to live and how we’ll teach our children. For the first time that I can remember, I’m really excited about the upcoming year.
I also want to take a second to say thanks to everyone that reads these posts and sends feedback through comments and emails. I get a fair amount of emails from people that encourage me and thank me for a post that helped open their eyes to something. Sometimes it’s financial, other times it’s philosophical. This means a lot to me, to know that I’m helping others achieve the awareness that I’ve achieved this year. Cheers to another great year.