As 2018 comes to a close, I have to say… it’s been a year of remarkable change in my life. I’ve been given incredible opportunities, hit some milestones, and I’m grateful for my friends and family.

Personally, a lot went on in 2018. Here are some highlights:

My wife and I bought a house. I never thought I’d be able to say I was a home owner. I live in a great town, in a great neighborhood. I love our house and it makes me smile every time I walk in. Plus, we have some incredible plans for the place in 2019.

We have a dog. I did not grow up in a household with a pet. No dog, cat, hamster, or bird. My brother had some fish for a while and that’s about it. My step-daughter has wanted a dog for a long, long time and once we bought a house, a new puppy was coming soon. The day we brought Rocco home, I realized what I’d been missing. I had no idea how much love I could have for a dog. He’s the best.

I turned 50. My birthday was a low key affair and I wanted it that way. It nicely coincided with a St. Louis Cardinals game and a visit from my best friend and his girlfriend. The Cardinals didn’t win, but I had a great birthday.

Changed my diet, lost some weight. Early in the year, I had a checkup and was diagnosed as diabetic. My blood sugar was sky high. I needed to do something. Immediately. So, I changed my breakfast and lunch meals, learned how to meal prep, stopped eating as much sugar as I was mindlessly consuming, started walking regularly on the treadmill and lost some weight. I was really blind to how bad it was. My changes dramatically dropped my blood sugar to normal levels without insulin and I’m healthier than I have been in a long time. I still have a long way to go, but I’m making plans in 2019 to do even better.

Started writing for fightingillini.com. I was given an opportunity to write some articles for the University of Illinois athletic department and made the most of it. I wrote nearly 20 pieces over the course of the year and enjoyed every second of it. The writing helped me become a better interviewer, be less nervous around people, and ultimately be a better writer. It’s been a wonderful side job and one I hope to continue to do for years to come.

What will 2019 bring? Let’s find out.

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