the path forward

if you know me well at all you know that i generally try to keep looking forward not backward. (you also know that i have a tendency to use lowercase only – too many emoticons – analyze everything – and post vague quotes or song lyrics that only one or two people truly understand).  just like everyone else i have regrets, opportunities lost, countless specific decisions that i have made along the way that will impact my life or the lives of others forever, as well as a few good decisions.

today, however, is a little different.  this blog post, a little different than all of those before.  today, december 31st, is a good day to pause and look back just for a bit.  it’s a good time to stop and collect my thoughts about what i’ve left behind.. what i’ve experienced this year and how i’ve changed.  that is maybe a little different than what i am used to doing.  a few months ago i was complaining about being single (we will come back to that in a moment) and one of my best friends made an observation and like it or not, he is right.  his observation was this.. there is the public james, the james you most likely know.. the one that is always upbeat, lively, everywhere in town… “james akers” as my friends like to say… and it’s not that the james everyone sees isn’t me, it’s just thats not all of me.  i rarely consider dating people that come up to me and say “you’re james akers”… why?  i don’t know…  i just don’t.  that is the fastest way to end a conversation with me at a club or on a chat… he may have hit the nail on the head though.. his observation is that there is a very public james, the one that everyone knows… and then there is the james that only a select few get to see.. the one that talks about my problems, my regrets, my life… it really is funny, considering how public a person i am, i’m really VERY private. just ask any of those close to me… i do enjoy going places and people saying “you’re james akers…” and i do LOVE meeting new people… but i have a bad habit of building walls… very tall walls… with no entrances. and maybe (likely) that is the reason i have been complaining about being single… i don’t let people in very easily.

some of you just read that and thought, i don’t see that… well… then either i did a great job building that wall without you knowing it… or you are one of those few people that i’ve not built a wall with.. one of those people i just kinda trusted from day one.  anywho… as i ramble… he said there are two different james, a public james and a private james.. and rarely do people get to see the latter. so… i’m going to try to break that a little bit. not much… but a little bit.

so let’s look back on 2011. let’s start with things we all knew about..

Jan.  Gabby Giffords was shot.

Feb.  Hosni Mubarak resigned as president of Egypt.

Mar.  A 9.0 earthquake devastated Japan after triggering a 130 ft high tsunami.

Apr.  Price William marries Kate Middleton.  Donald Trump leads in the GOP race.

May  Osama bi Laden was killed and Anthony Weiner tweeted his.. well.. you know..

June  Weiner resigns.. Obama announces a plan to draw down in Afganistan

July  The US almost defaults… prompting a credit downgrade.

Aug.  Michele Bachmann leads in the GOP race.  So does Rick Perry.  War breaks out in Libya.

Sept. People realize Rick Perry is George Bush III.  Occupy Wall Street protest start.

Oct.  Steve Jobs dies.  Cain leads GOP race.  Qaddafi killed.

Nov.  Rick Perry: “Commerce, Education, and the…uh…what’s the third one here…” “oops”.

Dec.  Cain out. Kim Jung Ill dies. Newt leads.

crazy huh? seems like all of that happened last month!  so now on to me… you know.. that thing i don’t really like to talk about. 🙂  this year was full of first for me.

first year i remained single all year long (assuming nothing earth shattering happens in the next 11 hours), thought i am working on making sure next year isn’t the same way. first year i ran a 5k. first year i ran the mudrun.  first year i ran an 8k.  first year i fed the homeless on Thanksgiving.  first year in 3 that i made more than last year.  first year i hiked jones gap.  first year i lost a friend to suicide.  first year i hugged my mom and cried in MANY years.  and it just hit me, it’s the first time i have ever went the entire year without seeing my dad. the first year i became a god father. my first clemson home game.  my first braves game. my first year at Marchant Company.  the first year i rode my bike more than 30 miles at one time. the first year one of my listings (and the first listing in SC) was featured on The Today Show! my first ACC Final Four game! first time i ran a race in high heels.. & got second!!

it was the last year i was in my 20’s at all (i will be 31 in 2 months). the first year of my thirties.
the year i was elected first vice chair of the greenville county democratic party.  the year i added three of four board positions to my resume and as of last week, the first time i have ever resigned a position. my first time on Kiawah Island.

on the bright side i have met several political leaders, attended at two presidential debates, am now a contributor for patch.com/huffington post/aol. was asked to do movie reviews for the greenville news (which surprisingly gives me a few hours of down time every week that i really enjoy). was selected as an alternate on a rotary trip to brazil next year. and… i’m still alive. 🙂

this hasn’t been an easy year.  to be honest, it has been a brutal year. that sunday morning in september shook me a bit.. and the following few weeks shook me a lot. a few months ago i had a medical issue personally that rocked my world and made me think about my own death for the first time really.  last week i learned of an issue with a very close family member that again shook my world.  it honestly has been a brutal and kind of lonely year. (normally i would edit that out.. i won’t this time – David will be proud).

so.. now that i have rambled about the ups and downs of this year.. i am so ready for midnight.. i am so ready for 2011 to be over.. and i am really excited about hiking the path forward into 2012 and seeing what trails lie ahead.

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