Gratitude in Review 2018

Looking back, here are eight things I’m grateful for in 2018.

1. Tirza

I’ve been pretty shameless sharing with everyone how lucky I am to have started dating Tirza in 2018.

We briefly met once before she agreed to go on a date with me. I sent her a Facebook friend request after bumping into her at a running event in late November 2017.

I didn’t even know if she was single and it took me two months (and a couple of drinks) to muster up the nerve to ask her out.

I was obviously scared

She agreed to go on grab a slice with me on Friday, Feb. 9, National Pizza Day. She promptly text me the day after that first date asking if I wanted to grab a beer at a local brewery the following Monday. I’ve been pinching myself ever since.

2. New friends

I also met a great new group of running friends because of my relationship with Tirza. I experienced “Donna loops,” was invited into homes for post-run eats and drinks, and endured some gentle ribbing for training with a different marathon running group.

3. And friendships that endure

The new friends only added to the rather large cast of characters already in my life. I’ve known many of the people pictured above for years through running. We tell jokes and occasionally discuss the rough patches we each experience in our lives.

Outside of running, I also got to spend a weekend with an old college roommate in November. We visited a comic book convention, played D&D with his 8-year-old son and just fell back into the comfortable rhythm built on two decades of friendship.

4. Speaking of running …

Even though I felt burned out at times, I ended the year on an up note when it comes to running. I currently feel re-energized and ready to race in 2019.

Here are some stats from 2018:

5. Family

I made some great memories with my mom, dad, sister, niece and nephew this year. Tirza even impressed my tight-knit group of weirdos with her eating habits and that one time she forgot to meet me at my house for my birthday dinner with them . We all wrapped up the year with great Christmas together.

6. Meeting a few famous people

I was given the opportunity to chair two panels at the Cincinnati Comic Expo in September. I met “Doctor Strange” actor Benedict Wong and Clark Gregg, the man who plays “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” Director Phil Colson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

7. Counting blessings

While saddened to learn of the passing of comic book creator and legend Stan Lee, I was also reminded how lucky I was to have met him in 2016. His passing also was the first of many that reminded me how important it is to appreciate the interactions I get to have with others. In more than a few instances, 2018 proved to be a sad year for those we lost.

8. Pushed out of my comfort zone

And finally, as uncomfortable a process as it has been, I am glad life still presents opportunities that push me out of my comfort zone. I don’t think that I’m the best in front of a camera but work this year has made me get over myself and become more confident in who I am.

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