Decade Rewind

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Over the last month or so I’ve been seeing people online posing some variation of this question: “The decade ends soon – what have you accomplished?” Every time I see that I stop and wonder to myself – what have I accomplished? What are the first things that come to mind? Admittedly, I have some trouble conjuring up all of the things I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had over the last ten years. That’s not because I don’t think I’ve accomplished nothing, it’s that ten years is a really long time and it’s difficult to think of all the highlights in a matter of seconds. Allow me to take you through each year of my life from 2010 to 2019 as I recount the experiences and changes that have shaped the person I am heading into a new decade of life.

2010

At the beginning of the decade I was a 16 year old junior in high school. 2010 is what I refer to as “the year of the bowl cut” for me. It was a time in my life in which I was (finally) starting to come out of my shell. I was still pretty shy and timid, but I was making strides and truly finding confidence in myself. I was beginning to be really involved in St. Cletus Lifeteen and felt like I had an established community of friends. I was starting to feel like I was more than a face in the crowd.

One of the highlights of the year was definitely the cruise I went on that summer with my family and a few of my best friends and their families. It was an absolute blast, something I had never done before. Not only that, but it was my first time seeing the ocean! A true milestone.

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Living that cruise life with Matt and Ross

I was working my first job this year at Lyon’s Frozen Custard and as a result I was meeting people outside my high school bubble. I was making friends outside of my typical circle and comfort zone, which was a big deal for me at the time. As I mentioned, I was beginning to feel comfortable in my own skin.

That was huge for me as I entered into my senior year that fall. I was now at the top of the proverbial food chain. While I certainly didn’t classify myself as a popular kid, I felt that I was becoming somebody that people at least knew and recognized, a major step forward from my freshman year.

2011

I entered 2011 with plenty of excitement but also a tinge of apprehension. I had become one of the senior leaders within my youth group and was loving it. I had made a number of really close friends and knew I was in an environment where I could be myself. I was eager for college and the opportunity to grow this newfound confidence. But that’s where the apprehension came into play. Was I ready to leave a place where I truly felt like myself? What if don’t rediscover that elsewhere and had to start all over again?

Despite those doubts I will still excited. Especially when I got the news that I was accepted into Truman! Although I visited a handful of other schools I never really had any doubt I’d be going to Truman. My older sister Laura went there and absolutely loved it. Not only that, but I had some older friends that were currently there, as well as a handful of high school classmates and friends that would also be going. Knowing that I would have some built in friends definitely aided my decision.

When graduation rolled around I wasn’t particularly sad about saying goodbye to high school itself. I would miss certain aspects of it but I knew better things were on the horizon. Saying goodbye to St. Cletus Lifeteen, on the other hand, would prove to be a bit more difficult. On my last Steubenville retreat I was overcome with sadness at the realization that my life was about to change drastically for the first time ever. I wasn’t going to be surrounded by the same circle of friends and I wouldn’t have my parents there to provide everything for me.

Next thing I knew it was freshman move in day. I was going to be rooming with my friend Matt from high school. Who I thought was going to be nothing more than just a friendly face quickly became one of my best friends. That certainly helped with the transition. But unfortunately it didn’t ease all of my fears. I distinctly remember laying in bed one night my first week wondering to myself, “What if I don’t make any friends?”

I leaned on the friends I already had and spent most of my time with them. Doing anything on my own was a truly terrifying task. But thankfully I had friends that were a bit more outgoing than me and introduced me to other people. I eventually found a solid circle of friends within my dorm that I spent most of my time with. While I enjoyed my time with these people they just weren’t the same as my friends from back home. Not only that, but the times I went to the Catholic Newman Center to meet people I just quite feel welcomed or like I belonged. The momentum I had from the end of high school seemed to be wearing off.

A spark came in the form of the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series. I will never forget watching Game 6 in my dorm room with at least ten other people, including my best friend Matt. I’ll never forget then running through the halls screaming our heads off after David Freese’s walk off homerun. And I’ll never forget watching them clinch Game 7 while dressed as Allen Craig, again alongside Matt.

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Game 6 with Matt

I entered college as a history major solely due to the fact that it was the class I disliked the least in high school. Not exactly an overwhelming calling to the field. It quickly became evident that it wasn’t for me within my first few weeks. That left me without much of a clue for what I wanted to study and without the community I desired. High school may have ended on a good note but college was off to a rough start. And with that came the end of 2011.

2012 

2012 began with me now a full semester into college and in search of a new major. Without much of an idea of what I really wanted to study I enrolled in an intro to psychology course. I was absolutely fascinated with the subject and immediately began to envision a career as a sports psychologist working with professional athletes. Say no more. I was now a psychology major!

Entering 2012 I was still a little unsure of who my “people” were. I felt that I had a decent group of friends within my dorm but it just wasn’t quite the same as the friend groups I had in high school. I was missing a community. I had made some friends through the Newman Center but even that didn’t feel like a true community. That all changed with my first Awakenings retreat. Awakenings is a notoriously secretive retreat, so I won’t be disclosing any specifics. But on this retreat I felt so immensely loved. I went on the retreat with peers and classmates that I had met and known but hadn’t truly connected with up to that point. It became clear over that weekend that these people would go from being relative strangers to my absolute best friends. I had finally found my home away from home.

That summer my family went on one of my favorite vacations. We took a long trip to the East Coast, with stops in Hershey and Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Niagara Falls, and Cooperstown (baseball Hall of Fame). The highlight for me personally was visiting Cooperstown. Since the Cardinals were the most recent World Series champions there was quite a bit of memorabilia commemorating that. We also got to see the Cardinals play against the Phillies in Philadelphia, which allowed me to mark another stadium off the list.

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Cooperstown

Aside from that vacation, I will remember that summer as the summer of ultimate frisbee. The previous summer I had organized some pick games of ultimate frisbee but the summer of 2012 took on an entirely different level. I organized at least two or three games a week, inviting anyone I could think of. I remember that time very fondly because it was a mixture of friends old and new. I was reunited with my youth group and high school friends while getting to spend more time with my new friends from Truman. Ultimate frisbee was a staple of my week throughout the summer. I miss those carefree days.

As great of a summer as it was, I was ready to get back to Truman. I had ended my freshman year on a post-Awakenings high note and I was eager to continue the momentum. I had newfound confidence and a determination to get more involved. I joined the Newman Center council as part of the service committee. Aside from that I also joined a service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega (APO). While APO wasn’t my biggest priority I still got to meet a ton of incredible people and made friends in other circles that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

The highlight of the year, though, was by far and away the B.o.B concert. At that time in my life I would have classified myself as a B.o.B fanatic. I fell in love with his music a couple years prior and I made it my mission to learn every word to his songs. The day I found out he was going to be performing at Truman is one I will never forget. I’m not exaggerating when I say I cried. I had a countdown to the day of his concert and when it finally arrived…well, I can’t quite put that into words. It’s one of those experiences that to this day still brings a smile to my face.

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B.o.B right before I held him as he crowd surfed. NBD.

2012 was a big under-the-radar year for me. I had some pretty incredible experiences on the surface but it was what was happening internally that made it such an important year. This was the year I felt like I was really coming into my own. I was learning how to live independently and make decisions on my own. Not only that, but I was developing new friendships that would define my time not just at Truman but beyond. I felt like I belonged.

2013

2013 continued the momentum I had gained in 2012. As I just mentioned, I felt like I belonged, especially at the Newman Center. At this stage of my college career you could find me there just about any given day. I had my core circle of friends that I did everything with, including many late night adventures at the Newman Center. I got to enjoy my first Awakenings retreat as a non-participate and formed one of my closest friendships as a result (hey Danny!). I played every intramural sport imaginable and was now an active member of APO, continuously meeting new people. As my sophomore year began to wind down I felt like I was in a great place. I was happy with my new psychology major, I was surrounded by amazing people, and I was involved with some great organizations. It was hard to believe college was halfway over, though.

That summer was much like the last one in that I played a lot ultimate frisbee. That summer also provided me with a great test. I was going into my second summer as a camp counselor. The last summer I was nothing more than a support counselor, not really having all that much responsibility. This summer, however, I was thrust into a situation I wasn’t all that prepared for – a one on one counselor for a kiddo with special needs. Talk about an unexpected challenge. Each and every day brought on something new, never really knowing what to expect. I left work many days frustrated, discouraged, and doubtful of myself. However, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It also brought me great joy and pride knowing I was helping to make an impact on someone’s life in such a way. For as frustrating as it was at times it was equally as rewarding, if not more so.

That fall I was entering my junior year of college at Truman. I was no longer the wide-eyed, uncertain freshman of two years ago. I was now confident, determined, and established. I wanted a bigger role that year on Newman’s council and was selected to be the intramural chair. That role seemed tailor-made for me. As I mentioned before, I played every intramural sport there was and now I was in charge of organizing and planning intramurals. I was in heaven.

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At this point I was now in the thick of my psychology studies. I was at the point where I was getting a pretty good grasp on the subject but still felt I had plenty of time to narrow down what exactly I wanted to do with the major. The possibilities were endless.

All in all, 2013 was a relatively quiet year. Nothing really significant took place. But despite that I was in pure bliss. I was established but I still had more time in college to look forward to. Life was good.

2014

This year began with one of the biggest heartaches of my life up to that point. My Grandma Hoffman hadn’t been doing well for a while and in the back of my head I knew she didn’t have a lot of time left. That didn’t make losing her in February of that year any easier. My other grandma had passed away when I was a freshman in high school but at that time I wasn’t very emotionally mature or capable of processing a loss. This was the first time in my life I had to face a close loss and it was more difficult than I anticipated. Luckily I had an incredible circle of family and friends to support me through that.

As my junior year neared its end I started to look ahead a little bit. The reality that my time at Truman was gradually winding down was starting to set in. What did I want to do with my future? Who did I want to become? Who was I then?

I made two decisions that would greatly impact the trajectory of my life. One was deciding to run for Newman council president for my senior year. While Newman had become my home I never really envisioned myself in a leadership position. Sure, I had held positions on council, including intramural chair that year, but I never really pictured myself in anything above that. I was content with the role I had carved out for myself within my Newman community. But something within me (we’ll call it the Holy Spirit) was pulling me to at least apply for the position. And so I did. I went through the process with minimal expectations, not really expecting to “win” the position. I think having that mindset really helped because I wasn’t placing too much on that decision. If I didn’t get it, so be it, it just wasn’t meant to happen. But by the grace of God I was selected to be the Newman council president the next year. I was honestly shocked and taken aback. I reflected on my first few months of going to Newman and how I felt like I didn’t really have a place there. And now I was going to be president. It was hard to believe.

The other decision I made was to stay in Kirksville that summer. I had several friends that had stayed in Kirksville over the summer and they raved about how much fun it was. They talked about how different Kirksville was without all the stress of college life and without all the students. I made the decision that I wanted to stay. The next step was finding a job to justify staying over the summer. I initially didn’t have any ideas until someone in APO made an announcement during one of our meetings saying they were looking for summer camp counselors at the local YMCA. With two years as a counselor under my belt I figured that would be the perfect fit and applied. I ended up getting the job and loved my summer in Kirksville. I had grown in my level of independence in the years leading up to that point but this was a huge step. I was truly living on my own for the first time and was providing for myself. Not only that, but I also really enjoyed working for the YMCA. That would go on to mean more to me than I realized at the time.

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Y-M-C-A!

Although I thoroughly enjoyed my Kirksville summer I was ready for all my friends to come back and kick off my senior year. Looking back it’s amazing how much things can change in just three years. As a freshman I was pining for my friends back home, longing for a new community, and didn’t have a clue what I really wanted to do. Now, as a senior, I was growing as a leader, confident in who I was becoming, and was surrounded by the best people I knew. I was ready.

One other thing worth mentioning from that year was my family’s summer vacation to Milwaukee. The best part of the trip was seeing the Cardinals make a thrilling comeback against the Brewers at Miller Park. That trip, however, lives in infamy. My family had, by far, its biggest fight on that trip, highlighted by the four of us screaming at each other on a downtown street corner in the middle of the day. Luckily for us, that would be the last family vacation with just me, my sister Laura, my mom, and my dad. That is because just a couple months later Laura’s boyfriend, Kevin, would propose, making him our family’s permanent vacation buffer.

2014 was a strange year. It was book-ended by a family loss on one end and a family gain on the other. I underwent a lot of personal growth that year and took on some new challenges. However, I knew unavoidable change was on the horizon and I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to face that. I had been living in a perfect bubble the previous 3.5 years but knew that bubble was about to pop.

2015

One more semester left. It was hard to believe just how quickly the end of my time at Truman was approaching. I had a lot of mixed emotions about graduation. On one hand, I was ready to go home and start something new. I felt like I was prepared for the next phase of life. On the other hand, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to everything and everyone. I knew the friends I had made would remain crucial parts of my life but it wouldn’t be the same. I wouldn’t be a five minute walk from them anymore. There were people I knew I would never see again and that was difficult to process. I was comfortable and I wasn’t ready for it to end.

It also didn’t help that I was coming to the realization that psychology was not the right fit for me after all. It became clear during my final psychology practicum that I did not have a passion for the subject. Additionally, if I wanted to really pursue a career in the field I would have to go on to additional years of schooling, something I was not very keen on. The weeks went by and the uncertainty continued to grow. As friends around me began to look into post-college jobs, careers, and internships I began to feel hopelessly lost.

I was afraid to look into studying a new major entirely, feeling that I would have just wasted the previous four years. But in my gut I knew that was the right thing to do. I initially thought about getting another undergrad degree at Truman but didn’t want to limit myself. As I brainstormed new fields of study I thought about the things I was passionate about. One thing kept coming to mind – sports. I took that idea and ran with it. I eventually settled on a sports management masters program at Lindenwood back home. It would be a perfect fit, as that was just five minutes from my parents’ house. Better yet, I wouldn’t have to wait to get started, with only a couple weeks in between my graduation from Truman and my first class at Lindenwood. Not all hope was lost, after all.

Uncertainty about my future career wasn’t the only thing weighing on me. As I mentioned, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the people I had grown so close to. Those emotions all came to a head during my last Awakenings retreat. At the conclusion of the retreat I gathered all my fellow seniors together in a circle to tell them how important they were to me. I was completely overcome with emotion and started bawling. This was a huge reality check – life was about to change, whether I was ready for it or not.

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Not ready for the real world

Graduation was a strange mix of emotions. I was eager to begin my new life at Lindenwood but still not quite ready to leave Truman behind. But unfortunately I couldn’t have it both ways and was forced to say goodbye to the life I loved. That led to a very difficult summer. I was certainly grateful to have found a program at Lindenwood and I was lucky to have a slew of friends home in St. Louis with me. But I was initially without a job for the first couple months after graduation, desperately trying to find a job at Lindenwood to help cover the cost of my studies. Beyond that, I also had my first real heartbreak. That summer my college girlfriend and I broke up. This was something I knew was coming for a while, seeing as we were from opposite ends of the state. But despite that knowledge I didn’t want to face that reality. But again, life changes whether you’re ready for it or now.

I found myself now feeling alone, jobless and without direction, no longer surrounding by the same community. One thing that did give me a sense of hope and purpose was St. Cletus Lifeteen. As I mentioned before, St. Cletus’ youth group was a huge part of my life towards the end of high school. Now I was back in it, this time as one of the adult Core Team leaders. I knew even back in high school that I would one day come back to serve as a Core Team member in order to give back to the program that meant so much to me. From the get-go this helped fill some of that Newman void in my life and gave me a renewed spiritual mission that I had been preparing for.

In my desperation for work I wound up with a job at Bass Pro for a couple months. That helped bridge the gap to a new job that would play a pretty important part in my life. I eventually did find a job at Lindenwood, and it just so happened to pertain to what I was studying. I had a new job as a Gameday Coordinator graduate assistant. This was my first full-time, non-seasonal job and my one of my first steps into the “real world.” Despite the uncertainty I was having during my last semester I was pleasantly surprised with how well things were turning out.

2015 had many ups and a lot of downs but thankfully the best was saved for last. That December I embarked on a road trip to Utah with four of my college best friends: Jacob, Danny, Joe, and Kevin. The primary reason we were going was so that I could see the Utah Jazz play at home. Talk about having some supportive friends! It was an unbelievable trip and experience and was an important reminder that, although circumstances may change, friendships don’t have to.

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Brotah!

2016

2016 began the same way 2015 ended: with me surrounded by close friends in the Utah mountains. I saw that as a sign for new beginnings. Up to that point I had several months to process the changes in my life and adjust to my new normal. I was getting used to working a consistent job and was growing to like it quite a bit. Not only that, but I was really enjoying what I was studying. I was cautiously excited about what my future career could look like.

This was the first year that “wedding season” actually meant something to me. I got to be co-best man for my best friends’ Matt and Julie’s wedding. I was in another wedding for a couple other friends that summer and had a blast at both. But it was a little strange at first. I couldn’t believe that I already had friends getting married. It felt like we were all just in either high school or college together. We’re not ready to be getting married yet, are we? I felt like I was growing up way too quickly, what with me now working a full time job and friends getting married. It also didn’t help that my high school five year reunion was that year.

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Five year high school reunion

I classify 2016 as the year it fully clicked that life changes and you move on. That may sound a bit depressing but I think it’s true. 2015 was filled with massive changes in my life and 2016 was the year I just said “Oh well. You get used to it.” On the surface I was happy, content, and perfectly fine with my new normal. But the seeds of frustration, confusion, and doubt had been planted without even knowing it.

2017

I entered 2017 with a determination to make a change on my own terms. I ultimately decided to run a half marathon with my friend Chris. I had admittedly let myself go a bit since college since I wasn’t nearly as active. Running a race like that had long been on my bucket list and I decided there was no better time to do it. I spent the entire winter training for the race in April, eager to finish the race without walking. I was running consistently and was eating better than I had in years. As a result I lost forty pounds from the beginning training to the time of the race. I hadn’t felt that great physically in years, and finishing the race was a huge emotional boost. I had set a goal for myself and I accomplished it.

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After the race I felt like I was on the verge of something great. I can’t really explain it other than the fact that I felt some big change was on the horizon. As I mentioned, I felt incredible physically. I was content with my job but thought I was ready for more. I had been living with my parents since graduating and had started looking for apartments with my friend Ross. I felt that I had healed and grown from my breakup and was ready for a new relationship. I didn’t know what change was coming but in my gut I just knew it was going to happen.

And then…nothing. A few months passed after my race with nothing of significance changing. Looking back it shouldn’t have been as frustrating but at the time it was hard to process. I started to feel stuck. As I looked around at the people close to me I noticed how much was changing in their lives. Friends were getting engaged or married, friends were moving away, friends were getting promotions. It seemed like no matter where I looked people were moving on to bigger and better things and I…wasn’t. That contentment with my place in life from a year prior was fading and I began to feel sorry for myself. That determination I felt entering the year had practically disappeared.

And yet some resilience remained. Fresh off my half marathon finish I decided a marathon was the logical next step and signed up for a marathon that fall. While I didn’t train nearly as much as I should have, I still pushed through and finished the race, despite practically walking the last eight miles. I needed that.

I also received some pretty incredible news that summer. I found out I was going to be an uncle! Laura and Kevin told us right as we were leaving for our family vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I can’t put into words how excited I was to meet my future niece or nephew. Speaking of Gatlinburg, that vacation came at just the right time. I was in the midst of some doubt and uncertainty about my future and needed the opportunity to take a step back and be reminded of how important family is. The one thing that truly never changes is family and I’m certainly blessed to have the best family there is.

2017 was the tale of two halves. The first half was marked with excitement, accomplishment, and determination. The second half was defined by feelings of loneliness, confusion, and being stuck. I think both sides are equally important. We need those moments of triumph and victory to know what we’re capable of doing. I realized that I have the ability to change things in my life if I set my mind to it. On the flip side, I think we also need those moments of loneliness and sadness in order to figure out what’s truly important. Once we discover that we realize how much we really have.

2018

I just finished talking about how 2017 was the year I felt stuck in place. 2018 would be the year I broke out of that rut. This year began with one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Back in the summer of 2017 I had been invited to go on a mission trip to El Salvador through St. Cletus. I had never done something like that before and had a plethora of built in excuses not to do it. But again, I felt something inside me telling me to (we’ll call this the Holy Spirit also). Long story short, I went on my first trip to El Salvador in January 2018 and it changed my life. I won’t go into too much detail about that trip (you can read about it in one of my first blog posts) but I felt like I was living for the first time in a long time.

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That experience motivated me to take a look at my life and reflect on all the other ways I was living. That ultimately spawned the idea of starting a blog, something I had never once considered doing. But for whatever reason I just knew it was worth trying out. It quickly became a much needed outlet for me to look back on all the incredible things I’ve been able to do and the places I’ve seen. It became my way to climb out of that funk I had been in for most of 2017.

It didn’t fix everything, though. I had been growing incredibly frustrated with my job at Lindenwood. The hours were becoming difficult and long. I didn’t see a direct path for moving up and just didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything. I wanted to make a difference but felt like that job not only wasn’t doing so but was keeping me from my potential. I had a number of friends moving across the country so I began to entertain the idea of doing so myself. My friends Joe and Kelci had just moved out to Utah and they gave me the idea of moving out there as well. I began to think of the possibilities. I could see so many Jazz games and I could go hiking to my heart’s content, all while living with two of my best friends. I was certainly tempted. Call it fear or call it common sense but I couldn’t pull the trigger.

One of the reasons I knew I shouldn’t move was because my niece was about to be born. I didn’t want to miss out on any time with her. And good thing, because from the moment she arrived she was perfect.

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That turned out to not be the only thing affecting my decision. Do you remember when I mentioned not realizing at the time how much the YMCA would influence my life? Well, my fond memories of working for the Y were in the back of my head through my job search. That led me to their job site on numerous occasions, with one of those times showing a Sports Director job at the Chesterfield location. I applied as quickly as humanly possible. The rest, as they say, is history. I began my new chapter with the YMCA in April of that year.

Things were looking up but there was still something missing. I was happy with my new career trajectory and the new addition to my family. I felt like I was stepping out of my comfort zone and was making strides in living. But the thing I was missing, and had been missing since college, was a sense of community. Lifeteen had helped fill some of that void and was immensely important to me, but it wasn’t quite the same. Truthfully, nothing would ever quite compare to what I had at Newman. But then Matt and Julie invited me to this thing called VIA. It was a brand new ministry geared towards Catholic young adults. They would meet every week and offer a chance to meet other people going through the same stages in life. I went the first night and instantly knew this would be a major part of my life. Every week I was meeting new people and sharing in the faith with them. Over time I began to develop new friendships and rediscover that sense of community and belonging I had been longing for.

Oh, the difference a year makes. 2017 and 2018 couldn’t have been more opposite. In 2017 I was searching for my path in life, discouraged by the seeming lack of change. It turns out that change was just around the corner in 2018, I just had to wait for it a bit longer for my liking. But let me tell you, it was well worth the wait.

2019

This past year began the same way as 2018, with another unbelievable mission trip to El Salvador. The difference this year was that more than ten teens from the youth group came along, adding a completely new element to the trip. I can’t imagine starting my year in any other way.

Unfortunately I hadn’t been in my new job even a full year before I started to have doubts about my decision. I felt constantly stressed and put a ton of pressure on myself to succeed in my new position. I had never felt quite so down on myself in a job before. It just seemed like nothing I did was good enough. My frustration with my job at Lindenwood was due to lack of fulfillment. My fear with my job at the Y was due to lack of confidence in my abilities. That began to take a toll on my life in other aspects. I didn’t feel as fully present in the things I was doing, whether that be Lifeteen, VIA, or within my friendships. I wasn’t just questioning whether I was right for the job, but also if I was right for the YMCA, and vice versa. However, right before the turn of the year, I had applied and interviewed for a trip to London to represent the YMCA and was ultimately chosen. Over the summer I got to travel abroad with more than ten other St. Louis representatives to a YMCA conference. There I got to meet people from all over the world and was exposed to a number of different cultures. To say it was reinvigorating would be an understatement. I returned with a renewed appreciation for the YMCA.

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With that renewed appreciation came an understanding that perhaps there was something better for me within the Y. I began looking for other jobs within the organization and came across one that caught my eye: a Youth and Teen Director at the South City location. I knew if I didn’t apply I would regret so I just went for it. As of the writing of this post I am about a month and a half into the my new(er) job. I am happily and eagerly looking forward to seeing what this job becomes in 2020.

There was another pretty significant change for me in 2019. I met this girl named Alyssa, and I have to say, I like her quite a bit. She’s been a constant source of joy and motivation in my life and has really pushed me to be a better man. One of our best bonding experiences came during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blues winning the Cup in and of itself is one of the highlights of the decade, let alone the year. What made it especially meaningful was that I got to share the experience with so many people. For most games I had people over to watch and it was like we were right back in college. Although I’ve gotten older and matured over the last several years it’s always nice to be a kid from time to time.

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2019 has been an interesting year. The notion that change is inevitable has yet again been reaffirmed. But for the first time I truly understood that change is necessary and good. It may not always come in the ways we want or expect but it will come in the ways we need.

That has become even clearer as I’ve reflected on the decade that was. It’s wild to look back and see how much has changed from 2010 to 2019 and how quickly things can change just year to year. At the beginning of the decade I was incredibly resistant to change, not wanting to mess with the life I had. Over time I began to view change as a necessary evil, something that was unavoidable and inevitable. But as I’ve grown wiser (I don’t know if that’s really happened, just go with it) I’ve come to see that change needs to happen. I’m certainly happy I’m no longer the same awkward 16 year old with the terrible bowl cut. But really though, change is what allows us to grow and adapt. Life would be utterly boring if it remained the same.

Although change is good and important, it still doesn’t make it easy. I’ll admit, it was tough to go through old pictures and memories with people that I’ve grown apart from. It’s difficult to look at those pictures with people who at one time were so important in your life and wonder what happened. I’m a firm believer that God places people in your life when you need them for however long you need them. He gives us the exact friends we need to get through whatever part of life we’re in. And just because we grow apart from people doesn’t mean we can’t reconnect with them in the future.

There are so many things – so many experiences, people, memories, events – that I didn’t include in this post. It’s near impossible to recount every meaningful occurrence over a ten year span. So many things and so many people influenced my life over the past decade. Small little moments and seemingly meaningless encounters helped shape each year and helped me get to where I am today. Looking back through each year brings back a lot of different emotions. I was reminded of the triumphs and the successes I’ve had. I smiled thinking about old friendships. And yet I was saddened while revisiting some of the more difficult times of the last decade. No matter what, though, I wouldn’t change a single thing from the last ten years. Everything that’s happened has led me to this point in life. I think that’s important thing to keep in mind as we head into a new decade. There are sure to be hardships ahead. There will be times where I feel lost and confused, sad and alone. And yet, there will be times of the purest joy and ultimate happiness. Through it all I will continue to grow and change. I can’t wait to let you about what life looks like ten years from now.

 

 

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