It always seems a little presumptuous to me when people come up with end-of-the-year reviews before the year is even over, as if nothing important ever happens on the last week of December. Kind of like when people use the term, "first annual."
2013 was a year where the more things changed, the more they stayed the same, proving Yogi's maxim. The apparent changes began when I hopped a plane on January 3rd for a job interview in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Since I am absolutely terrified of flying, and swear up and down that I will never do it again each time I do it, the job interview that immediately followed when my feet finally touched the sweet ground again was a breeze. There's nothing like being hurled halfway across the country in a tin can and surviving to ease the nerves that come with a job interview.
I was offered the job on the spot and I was forced to make a decision. I loved the town, all the people I met were great, and it seemed like a great company. What stopped me? I already had all these things here. I realized that if I went I would just be trying to recreate what I already had. So I made my decision to stay in Minnesota on February 1st and remain at the job I've had since 1999. This was the first of three jobs I turned down this year.
Aside from my quick trip to Colorado I didn't take many trips this year. My only vacation was in June, when I tagged along with my good friend Orion and his family of five on their family vacation to the North Shore.
My only other trip this year was work-related where I was once more forced to be hurled through the air in a tin can, this time to Atlanta for the Heidelberg open house.
On June 4th I was served with divorce papers. This was both one of the worst and best days of my life. Worst, because there is no failure that you will ever experience in life that compares with a failed marriage. Best, because after carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders for two years like Atlas, I was finally able to shrug.
On September 20th I turned 37. I have a different attitude toward aging than I thought I would have when I was younger. I love aging. Life gets better each time the number goes up. Each birthday I get the same feeling I used to get when I beat another level in Super Mario.
As the years have passed, I find my interest in sports decreasing dramatically outside of football. I still despise basketball, baseball puts me to sleep now, and hockey doesn't even hold my attention until late into the playoffs. But football is still the king.
After watching the Vikings get blown out in the first round of the playoffs in January, I had high hopes that this season would take the taste out of my mouth. That has not happened. As I type this, the Vikings are 4-10-1 and the talk for most of the season has been about what kind of a draft pick we'll get next year. But this season has been memorable for two reasons:
1. I attended my first game at the Metrodome in 1985 when I was 9 years old. In four days I will attend my last at age 37. It will be hard not to shed a tear when one of the last remaining links to my childhood is torn down.
2. The Vikings new uniforms have made them watchable again. While they are still not as good as the classics that Tarkenton and Page wore, I am so glad that I don't have to look at the clown suits of 2006-2012 ever again.
I didn't get to make my annual pilgrimage to see a new stadium this year on my Quest For 31, but I did attend one game at home (Redskins), and plan to attend the season finale against the Lions. I also took a trip down to training camp in Mankato for the first time since '99.
On April 14th I said goodbye to the most influential person in my life as John Piper retired as pastor and made way for Jason Meyer. I will miss him, but after hearing Jason preach for the past year, I'm looking forward to the next 29. This and the awesome small group I've been involved in for the past three years would have been the hardest things to "recreate" had I left for Colorado.
The main theological issue on my mind this year, ever since the Strange Fire conference in October, has been the charismatic/cessationist debate. While I used to wallow in uncertainty on this issue, I finally feel like I can firmly and thankfully call myself a cessationist.
Logic by Isaac Watts (Okay)
The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (Piercing)
Nightmares & Dreamscapes by Stephen King (Page-turning)
The Puritan Hope by Iain Murray (Illuminating)
The Roots of Endurance by John Piper (Helpful)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Boring)
Tell Me a Story by Daniel Taylor (Enjoyable)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Life-changing)
Bloodlines by John Piper (Eye-opening)
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fickert (Thought-provoking)
True Believers by Joe Queenan (Enjoyably agreeable)
Confessions of a Cineplex Heckler by Joe Queenan (Stupid)
Doc Holliday by John Myers Myers (Awesomely interesting)
By far, the best movie I saw this year was The Counselor.
2013 is the year I learned to cook. After my mom got me a crock pot for my birthday, I figured now was the time. I've got a ways to go, but enjoying a Vikings game while eating a pot roast that I prepared is much more enjoyable than frozen pizza.
On April 29th I got to see my all-time favorite singer/songwriter perform in person for one last time.
On May 3rd I had hand surgery for my carpal tunnel. Now I can feel my fingers for the first time in over ten years.
My fantasy team went 10-3 and fell one game short of the championship. Once again, Peyton Manning couldn't come through in the clutch.
I made my once-a-decade visit to the State Fair and a Wilds game.
I purchased my current car on December 26, 2003. Since then it's taken me 176,000 miles, been to about 30 states, seen both oceans, and never let me down. Happy 10th birthday tomorrow.
Overall, it was a great and horrible year. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm happy that it's over. I have much to be thankful for and much to be sorrowful yet always rejoicing about.
December 25, 2013
St. Paul, Minnesota