2019 Year in Review
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
It is time for my annual year-in-review blog post, as it is New Year's Eve.
2019 was an interesting year. I watched my son grow into a man; I learned a deeper appreciation for my marriage; I watched the world and all its current events get even crazier; work was work; I still did my writing on the side and ran into obstacles, such as the usual malfunctioning laptop, but I released two books in the same year again for the first time in a while; I visited some cool places with great family; I began a deeper exploration into the subject matter of self-defense, thus hardening a foundation in my sense of resolve, common (or now, uncommon) sense, overall philosophy, and even my faith.
So how do these particular things stand out for this particular year?
Let's talk about fatherhood, and raising a son. I cannot type enough words to say how proud I am of the son I've raised. I can also not attribute the results to my job as a father, but more to my blessing to serve as an arrow, or perhaps a suggestive compass. I just always tried to point my son to the right things to care about; the right people to look up to; the right way to determine what is important; the best way to be the best person he could be. Although I am as guilty as most fathers of living vicariously through my son at times, I never wanted my son to feel like I was telling him what he should do with his life. And you know what? He figured a whole lot of stuff out on his own. He went from being the kid who wanted to join the Air Force, to the young man who wants to work on cars and trucks for a living, and be that friend or family member that everyone can depend on. He chose family time over any kind of party time that you'd expect from the modern teenager. He chose friends and mentors that have lead him to showing more of a servant's heart than his dad ever had. He set about learning more about a career field and craft that he could make all his own, all on his own initiative. He became a young man not ashamed of where he came from, and learned to be vocal - without being vocal - just by the way he carries himself. And I saw my boy grow into someone who could assert himself if he had to. I am proud of him, and 2019 stands out as one of the most significant years I've seen as his father.
Marriage - it's a funny thing, isn't it? In 2019, I learned that I appreciate my marriage, my relationship with my wife, and the friendship, for so many reasons OTHER than what I thought marriage would be all about when I was younger. When I was in my 20's, I thought that marriage was supposed to be all about love, and affection, and the physical, and appeasing each other because of duty to one another, and dating each other. It has taken 18 years so far, but 2019 taught me that marriage is so much more than all of those things. I learned that one of the best things about being married, is helping your partner do LIFE with you... and helping your wife become better at being who she is - and being comfortable with who she is. My wife helped me be a better husband and family man, and she helped me become more content with who I have become as a man... man of the house, spiritual leader of the household, a good father, but most of all, her best friend. This year my wife was the best friend I could ever have, and it showed every day! I hope that she can say the same for me. I got to see her blossom at something with which she has really become successful. And to see her so happy to help young students fulfill some of their dreams because of her help in the academic process - it's been so refreshing to see. I sure hope 2020 holds even more discovery and wonder in an already wonderful marriage.
Regarding the world and its craziness, I will say this about 2019; up is down, down is up, hate is love, love is hate, family is bad, God is bad, being straight is bad, being Christian is bad, government should take care of us, there are many, many genders, and all white people are bad.......at least, these are all the things the world insists on. I am not saying whether the world is right or wrong in this particular blog post, but if I learned anything this past year, it is that the world is plum crazy. By all means, read other blog posts, and I delve much further into evidence of such.
This year, in serving as a training officer for a unique law enforcement department in the healthcare setting, I've learned that there are so many people in the general public that just don't know what happens in hospitals. There were many times this year, when I saw a group of medical staff new to their profession, they were in shock at some of the things I warned that they would encounter or might experience. I enjoy what I do, and the classes that I teach are not as geared towards training other officers as much as other staff members who work as nurses or technicians. I've learned that because so many people go into healthcare because of the kindness of their hearts and willingness to serve, they just don't realize what other people can really do to them, even though they just want to help those same people that might do them harm. I try to make sure that they won't be caught unaware, but for some people, it is just hard to realize the fire is there - until they're burned by it. Just an observation; whether we are talking about an active shooter or a patient who wants to assault them, 2019 gave me a chance to prepare many more people for such situations, and it was a year where I felt like I've made a difference.
2019 was a challenging year for my writing. While I was quite productive in the blogging, and I still wrote plenty of short stories, I still had challenges with dependability on technology and equipment; I had another laptop crash, this time without me being the one to actually crash it. Although this presented problems, I still published Dead Wrong, which was another interesting challenge in itself. Dead Wrong was my first attempt at writing a novel about the supernatural. It was fun; it was unique; it was fascinating. But it was inevitable. If one claims to be a Christian, you cannot ignore the supernatural. The Bible expressly mentions angels and demons. If they aren't just walking down the street, and yet exist (again, if you believe the Bible), one must wonder where are they? This is what I explore in the second book of The Brady Chronicles, and will be a launching point of sorts for many more Robert Brady stories to come. The other release in 2019 was my first anthology of short stories. I wrote short stories whenever the ideas occurred to me, and I thought a small collection was due to the public. I have had great reviews in person; now if only people would leave Amazon reviews ;)
2019 lead to some memorable trips with family. First of all, college visits or school visits with my son were highlights of the year for me. I went with my son to Embry Riddle and we learned about opportunities in engineering. We took a similar tour and experience at Clemson - where much of my family has received some kind of degree (but not me). We went to Georgia Tech and learned all about how they could develop my son into a 'hell of an engineer.' We did fun little things on the side, such as military museums and such. But little did I know that we would end up touring NASCAR Tech as part of UTI, where my son would eventually enroll. Of course, you already read about his initiative, which is what lead to that fun and unique trip to Mooresville, NC... NASCAR and Earnhardt country. I also got to go with my dad on Father's Day on a special hiking trip; just us. It was a wonderful father-son experience for me. It was one I will always cherish, because let's face it - my dad and I aren't getting any younger. So it was great just to have that time together, doing something that my dad did with me often when I was growing up. Heck, my son and I even got the Mrs. to go visit the highest point in my own home state of South Carolina; for years there was no view at the top, but just a couple of years ago a beautiful overlook was constructed. All in all, it was mostly a good year for local travel. Maybe nothing earth-shattering, but great memories were made with the people I care about the most.
And finally, in 2019 I reinforced an already ever-growing yearning to learn more about the discipline and principles of self-defense. I met a very wise man, and kindred spirit, whom I discovered has the same worldview as I do; it just so happens that he is a master martial artist. Although that may not be in his official certification or title (I just call him sifu around others; he is a master in my book, but I honestly don't know his official 'certification'), he introduced me to the martial art of Wing Chun. I was hooked on DAY ONE! From hearing the reinforced words of experts about the importance of preparation for a sudden violent encounter, to seeing the logical progression of ergonomic physical principals that just make sense when defending oneself, and I couldn't help but want to know more. I now find myself reading everything I can about martial arts, and yet can also apply so much of what I am learning in classes to application in my profession as a law enforcement officer as well. I intend to clean out my half of the garage, laying down some appropriate flooring, and getting a wooden dummy put up in the garage. Just thinking about having that makes me excited. I've been so inspired by this new discovery, my wife is calling it my mid-life crisis. Maybe it is. But at least it is something that I can benefit from for as long as I am physically active. Finding someone; a whole group of 'someones' with similar interests, learning the same pertinent logic and philosophy, and being able to apply it to other facets in life - and the world - has been very gratifying. I could probably write an entire doctoral dissertation on the matter of self-defense and how it relates to my faith and philosophy, but that would be another whole blog post, or book. This isn't the right post, but nevertheless, 2019 was very rewarding regarding this self discovery.
Some people might start reading this and quickly realize it reads more like a journal entry, revealing a lot of information that only pertains to me and my experiences - but it is a matter of record and habit for me. I've been blogging about each year for a while now, and I intend to continue doing so. But hey - if you read my blog, or read my books, but don't get to know me... then I will feel like I am not being transparent enough. So there you go...my 2019 year in review.