Holiday letter of sorts to family and friends

Single men don’t send Christmas letters, but I enjoy the ones that I receive. So in this blog entry I’m going to review my 2010, and give my season’s greetings. This is much lazier than printing out letters and mailing them to family and friends, but it will have to do.

In late 2009 I did the 10 week patch program to quit smoking cigarettes. I ended that program in early January. That means I haven’t smoked at all this entire year. On my day to day activities I don’t think much about it, but this has been one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a long time. I now plan to never put nicotine in my system again.

Quitting smoking has lead to three improvements in my life. These are that I’m more active, my finances are better, and I’m more confident in myself.  I’ve been going to the gym more and skating more frequently this year. My physical stamina and concentration are better. Financially this year I got out of credit card debt and started to actually save money for the first time since moving to New York City. This was also a combination of abstaining from drinking for long periods in addition to not smoking. But a pack a day habit in New York City can be draining. Lastly being a smoker these days is kind of miserable. You are treated like a leper by others, yelled at for smoking outside, and everything around you says you’re stupid. I never want to judge smokers and if someone smokes that does not mean he or she is bad or immoral person. But I felt a lot of guilt when I smoked and not in control with it. Now it feels good not to crave cigarettes at certain times of the day anymore. Life is so much better without smoking.

People that are friends with me on facebook know that I’m obsessed with skateboarding. This year has been great. The other day I realized that this has been my first full year or season of skating regularly in a long time.  I started back in July of 2007, and injured my ACL in my right knee in May of 2008. I didn’t start back after that injury until July of 2009, and I have been at it consistently since then.  In New York City I think they built 6 new skate parks this year. I have not been to all of them, but on my days off weather permitting that is what I’ve been doing. I’m on the intermediate level, my progress has been slow, but I really enjoy doing this on days off.  I mostly go to parks to skate, and usually have a good experience at these places. I think every skater has things in common, and people are relaxed here. If I don’t injure myself I can do this for years to come, the sport has enough variety that you can’t be bored with it. There are a lot of skaters older than me, so age is not an excuse.

I still want to be more consistent with the gym, but this year I’ve been better with exercise than in a long time. In 2002 I quit distance running, and was inactive for awhile after that. I don’t have the desire to run for hours anymore, and this year with some pointers from my roommate I made a simple light lifting routine in combination with aerobics. The idea is to get in good shape in order to skateboard better. I like the idea of using exercise as training for skating as opposed to simply exercising for general fitness or to look better.  Last month I put in abdominal exercises and I think my ollie is getting a little bit better.

Writing is the last improvement from 2010 that I can boast. I have not written a novel, or anything to submit, but this blog has been great practice. I’ve had it for over a year, and posted more than fifty entries. I think writing has gotten a little easier for me, and when I sit down to write a novel or something to submit somewhere the product will be better from my practice on this blog.

Work has been a challenge this year because of the budget woes of the city, and lay off situations. I won’t say much about work, but I now take it less for granted. I try to do my best while at work, even when things are changing. I’m glad I have skating, exercise and some friends for an outlet when I’m not at work.

Now I understand why single people do not write Christmas letters, this has just been only about me. My family is doing well. My parents after a lot of work and planning built a house in Florida that I went to with them in March and August. On the August trip my eldest sister and her family with three kids joined us, and they are all doing well. In June I went back home to Toledo. I get to see my sister Beth almost every week and for Christmas we are driving to Toledo. My roommate was watching the Steelers game today and it was snowing there, so I hope the conditions are decent for this trip. Through emailing I’ve been keeping up with two of my uncles regularly, and I’m reading a family history that they wrote. Apparently on Saint Patrick’s Day I can not just nod my head yes when people ask me if I’m Irish. I learned that I am Scot Irish, and apparently that is pretty tough. Everyone in my family and extended family seems to be doing well right now and are good people.

Happy holidays everyone. .

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