A Brief Christmas Recap & Some Thoughts Leading Up to the New Year

It was a nice Christmas weekend — how was yours?

Friday night (the 23rd), Wordy and Michelle & I went to the Bucks game. It was nice to see them get a win. It was also a helluva lot warmer than it had been the week before, when we had to walk a lot farther for a much less positive outcome…

I did a very little bit of last-minute shopping the morning of the 24th, and then made my way over to Jen & Joe’s house for Markowski/Mundschau family tidings. Michelle joined us there for dinner, gifts, etc.

On the 25th, the Bocks got together at the Behling house in South Milwaukee. Among other things, I got to talk to Uncle Bob about his “pest control system,” Uncle Mark about the tail end of the deer hunt, and my cousins Aaron and Matt about school and computers and some other stuff. Dan was feeling pretty crappy due to a dental problem, and that was too bad, but other than that, I think everyone was doing OK.

It was really nice to see everybody and have some laughs. I realized in the course of talking with my cousin Adam that all of us kids are awfully close to being totally grown up; in catching up with family that you don’t get to see or maybe just don’t have a chance to chat with in the daily comings and goings of your life, I thought to myself, “this was a pretty good year.”

Barring any significant tragedy in the next 4 days, 2005 was, for me, a year of generally good news and positive developments. Allow me to cite the significant milestones, in a quasi-sequential order:
– I went 6-0-1 in my wrestling debut on Jan 1 05.
– I was able to go on yet another exciting spring break trip, this time to Boston, MA in March
– Jen and Joe got married in April, amidst much fanfare, libations, and good times
– I met Michelle at that wedding, we started dating in May, and things continue to go just splendidly as of today
– I wrote a novella and earned A’s in both my spring 2005 classes
– I sold Grandma & Grandpa’s LeSabre?, but somehow still managed to “get around” over the summer, thanks in part to Christy’s wheels (June)
– For whatever reason, I didn’t worry about money over the summer
– On August 19, I was hired on as a full-time academic staff member at the Financial Aid office
– I was chosen to be the fiction editor of this year’s Wisconsin Review here at UWO (September)
– On October 2, it was official: the Milwaukee Brewers did NOT have another losing season
– Two of my best friends announced that they’d be getting married in ’06: R Chris Lorch, and Joseph P Knitt
– It was a safe and successful deer hunt (November)
– Despite a grueling work and class schedule, I was able to secure A’s in both my classes again, for the third straight semester
– The aforementioned enjoyable holiday season

In summing up, I guess it’s really no secret that meeting Michelle and getting a real, full-time job were my top two this year, followed closely by the recent realization that all I have left to do is write a thesis and I’ll have a Master’s degree. For such a long time, you (or in this case, I) flounder around and wonder when the hell things are going to start coming together, and for me, it seems 2005 has been the beginning of something.

And sure, in spite of all these good things, there were some unsavory goings on this year, too:
– One of the best friends I had growing up, Ben Wartgow, died in March after an extended fight with cancer
– Joe Knitt’s mom, Terry, had her own cancer scare
– A couple of my friends split with their long-time significant others, and that is certainly never easy
– I had, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most stressful fall on record, what with the pressures of a new job and the volume of work in two English classes—there were times that I was plagued with nightmares about irrevocably screwing up one, the other, or both

Despite these things, I’m still chalking this up as a “very good year.” I look back and there is an extent to which I feel bad for the self that lived through 2002, 2003, as well as some less-than-stellar days late in college, round one. I suppose it actually is important to maintain the ol’ positive outlook and continue to plod on through. Things could get better, or things could worse, but if you’ve got the essentials covered, and you’ve got people who care about you, you’re not doing that bad.

Here’s wishing you all the best as we look forward to 2006. My hope for you is that the coming year will feel as good as this one did to me…

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