The Best Year of My Life…So Far

Best year ever!When I started this blog at the age of 29, I was convinced that my fourth decade would be “my best decade yet.” Given the year I just had, that is definitely holding true so far.

To put it mildly, my 32nd year featured three colossal developments that will forever change my life: I bought a new house, I got a new job and I married my wife.

If you read that sentence and the night-and-day enormity of its impact is lost on you, you’re not alone. As someone who always professed to hating change (in terms of both coinage and circumstances), that’s not the kind of sentence that I ever would have expected to live through–much less enjoy as thoroughly as I did.

Each of these life changes deserved its own blog post (or three), but completely overhauling your life takes a lot of your free time and it never happened. Better late than never, here are the lessons/moments/memories/takeaways I want to remember from the most monumental year of my life…so far.

  • Everything about this year of my life was so clearly divinely inspired: being led so quickly and assuredly to discern the call to marriage, a family friend giving me a great deal on a house in the town where I grew up, my condo selling less than two weeks after I put it on the market, a job I didn’t know existed that fell in my lap and perfectly combines my skills with my passions…I’m truly blessed.
  • After a very long search for my original condo, the decision to buy the house was swift and painless once I realized it would work financially. I had a buyer for my condo the first weekend that I posted it on For Sale By Owner. That fell through, but I had another buyer by the second weekend, and he ultimately sealed the deal. He’s also physically the living embodiment of Elmer Fudd and measured my dining room to make sure that there was enough space for his moose antler chandelier. There was.
  • I rented a U-Haul truck for the first time in my life and moved all of my possessions from the condo to the house on a snowy and cold Saturday. Thank God for able-bodied family members who are willing to help! It was also incredible the way all of my condo furniture fit perfectly into the new house. Life in the condo feels like some sort of long lost dream now, but seeing my furniture sometimes flashes me back to it.
  • How can I possibly sum up my engagement and wedding? All I can say is that it was an unforgettable whirlwind and I found myself going from musing on the trouble with dating (written a few weeks before I started dating my wife) to picking out a wedding reception venue in a relatively short period of time. If you had asked me last November, I might have predicted the engagement, but would have seriously doubted that I would be a happily married man before turning 32. It turned out she was my soul mate, however, so I got to experience buying an engagement ring, popping the question (by literally popping out of a box to ask the question) and planning a wedding all in about six months’ time. I recommend a short engagement.
  • I’m going to give my wedding a separate bullet. I mean, come on. Quite simply, it was the best day of my life. And by “best,” I guess I mean “most loved” day of my life. The love was everywhere. I was surrounded by just about everyone I care about and could palpably feel their happiness, love and support for me. I could see it on their faces, too. I stood at the altar before God and my loved ones and publicly professed my commitment to the person who had quickly become the irreplaceable love of my life. For once, photos did a good job of capturing the essence of the experience (seriously, hire Christian Wilson Photography) and I find myself looking at them often and immediately reconnecting with the feelings of excitement and bliss beyond measure that I experienced on September 6.
  • As for life after September 6, marriage has given my life a renewed purpose and a person with whom to both share and shape the ride. It’s better than advertised. With apologies to Lou Gehrig, I’m the luckiest man in the world.
  • It was difficult to leave Northwestern, as I’ve previously documented, but my new job is incredible and I feel like I have a renewed purpose in my professional life as well. It’s also still really fun taking the Metra to work downtown, even though the cold weather has barely begun and Metra is already apologizing more frequently for their delayed service.
  • This past year also marked my first time teaching for the full academic year, as I got to try my hand at NU’s introductory reporting class for freshmen. I loved it, and they seem pleased with me, too, as I had the honor of winning the Medill Student Choice Award for faculty and got the new experience of delivering an acceptance speech.

There have been so many other new experiences this year, from driving around the new Archbishop of Chicago for a day, to going on my honeymoon, to having my own yard to take care of and so much more. The adventure of my 30s has only just begun, and while this year was momentous, perhaps it’s ridiculous to say it was “the best.” By any measure, my 32nd year further set me up for a future of comfortable happiness and I’m so grateful for that. I only hope I can find a way to pay forward all of the blessings that have come my way in this most recent spin around the sun. Suggestions welcome.

Thanks for reading this and for being a part of my life!

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