With less than six hours to go in the year 2019, I reckon there’s no better time to reflect on professional and personal accomplishments of the last three hundred and sixty-five days. Why was this year so good? In brief, 2019 was filled with achievements towards my general life goal, which is to spend as much time as possible engaging in self-propelled outdoor adventures and encouraging others to do the same.
Of course there were also plenty of hard times in 2019. I’ve reached the age when losing friends to cancer and other illnesses is becoming more commonplace. Friends are also beginning to lose their parents to age related, yet still surprising, complications. I’m still getting swindled by individuals and companies alike, albeit a lot less often (I think). Just a few years ago (my early thirties), I was shocked to learn that I still hadn’t figured out the game of life, but in 2019 I resigned to the fact that life is hard and the only way to stay on top of the game is to work harder everyday. Life lessons happen everyday. Negative events happen everyday. But seeing the positive in the most stressful situations is the only way to continue to move forward and enjoy the present.
Back to the good stuff:
Professionally, I was gifted the ability to ride, run, hike, and drive hundreds of miles throughout Forbes State Forest and hundreds of more miles throughout Loyalsock State Forest, in order to promote wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities within Pennsylvania. I assisted with the creation and distribution of new (and yet to be released) Purple Lizard Maps. I also engaged in upping the stoke level of outdoor recreation in PA by creating and sharing many blogs highlighting the best, yet sometimes obscure, public lands and trails throughout our state. Most importantly, I successfully urged REI Co-Op to carry Purple Lizard Map titles online and in nearly 25 stores and throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. For a guy with goals to encourage folks to appreciate and enjoy the public lands of Pennsylvania, this was a big deal!
I also spent many hours of my time volunteering as a board member for Keystone Trails Association. Most anyone who has ever been on a board of a non-profit organization will tell you the efforts are difficult, frustrating, and overall a labor of love. I agree. While attending board meetings, organizing hiking events, and answering emails can be arduous tasks, my time serving on the PA DCNR Outdoor Recreation Plan Technical Advisory Committee, was my most cherished accomplishment. Finally, after hiking well-over ten-thousand miles within Pennsylvania, I was able to have my voice heard at some of the biggest statewide outdoor recreation meetings. I thoroughly enjoyed attending these meetings and helping to steer the direction of outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania for the next five years.
Personally, I also had a most wonderful year. Although I constantly struggle with overuse injuries (surprise, surprise), I was able to stay healthy enough to run more than 625 miles (including a 50k race), hike nearly 950 miles (including a thru-hike of the Northville Placid Trail), cycle almost 800 miles, and walk our adventurous dog over 275 miles. I also restarted a weight and core strength workout campaign that had been dormant for years. Overall, I got outside nearly 400 times and propelled myself over 2,670 miles in the last 365 days!
Friends and family! I’m still lucky enough to have a supportive base of friends and family who love me even when I’m overly weird and difficult. I was able to make time to visit with new and old friends alike. While everything noted above was wonderful for 2019, my most favorite news is my engagement to my girlfriend in early December. I won’t ever have a girlfriend again, as I currently have a fiancee’ who will at some point in the near future become my wife and life partner!
So yeah, 2019 was pretty epic for me. But as I stated earlier, life throws curveballs everyday of the year. In just a few weeks, Emily and I plan to relocate to Southcentral PA, which we know will bring challenges, adventures, and triumphs in 2020. 2019 was good, but I plan to have a better 2020!