Sunset over a field.

As I was walking back from the mailbox at the end of the drive last week, I stopped to take in the view (shown in the image above). The sky was breathtaking. My photo really doesn’t do it justice.

For a moment, all was right with the world. I was content, happy with where I was at this stage in my life.

That is a rare feeling for me. It is not that I am ever particularly unhappy, but I am typically not content. I always want to do more, be more, soar to new heights.

It was merely a few minutes at the end of a random day, but the feeling is not one that I am likely to forget soon.

I am a dreamer. And, for many years, I was only a dreamer. As I have grown older (and, perhaps, a bit wiser), I have reached out and touched some of those dreams. At times, it was only for a moment. At others, I have truly lived through the full experience. Yet, there is always more that I want to accomplish.

The only word I have that can define the past year of my life would be grateful.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have had professionally and personally. I am grateful for my family, friends, and colleagues who have served as a support system, continuing to push me to be better than I was the day before.

After spending the first half of last year settling into my new home, I began to realize that I had time for some of those pursuits that I had been putting off. I won NaNoWriMo for the second time. I started painting, a lifelong dream that I had simply never attempted. I got back into drawing. I hosted my first-ever Christmas party in my own home. I even built my own CMS (official 1.0 release coming soon).

There were certainly things that I did not have time for that I wanted to do, but I made real progress on pursuing my passions. My hope and plan is to continue doing so for the next year and for year after year beyond.

I am going to, once again, wrap up this year’s birthday post a little short with no particular words of wisdom. As I write this, I am sitting next to my four-year-old niece. She is watching Jaws for the first time. It wasn’t my choice of films, but she insisted. I offered up Frozen, The Good Dinosaur, Moana, and a wide selection of animated movies. But, there’s no arguing with a four-year-old when she’s made up her mind.

It’s been a good birthday thus far.

Previous years: 37, 36, 35