Friday, February 4, 2022

Thoughts at 39

It was fitting I wrote about ends on Wednesday as today marks another major change as my age goes to 39. The two days I loathe the most each year are New Years and this, my birthday. 

This is the day of all days to measure what hasn't been achieved. I know, I know, I should look at it the other way around and see all the things that were accomplished in the past 365 days but that, sadly, isn't the way my brain is wired. It's so much easier to see what's been left on the table than it is to see what great things I got to experience. 

However, the past two years have been different. When I see the things left on the table, I'm seeing the presentations that haven't taken place because they weren't able to occur. And actually, because of this, I can sort of see the great things that have happened in the past year because it wasn't my fault and wasn't my lack of skill as to why I wasn't traveling the country giving presentations. 

All things considered, 38 was a great year! Back in May I got to experience the Indianapolis 500 as the starter with 135,000 fans. It is almost impossible to describe the electricity in the air and the mammoth pressure of the job. I worked my entire life to get to that position and despite all the setbacks, and injuries motorsports has given me I lived out a dream that I say is an impossible dream come true.

Another major event was I met my girlfriend. She's been patient enough with all my racing adventures and racing talk and, well, more racing. It was extremely awesome though, back when the NTT INDYCAR Series visited WorldWide Technology Raceway that she got to experience her first INDYCAR race. 

While the racing accomplishments were big there were several presentations in the midst of the year while the COVID numbers were lower. I had a great virtual presentation with Ron Ekstrand, CEO of EasterSeals Arkansas early in the year that was amazingly fun.  My annual trip to Iowa to present to police officers was great (thanks dad for driving me as I literally flew to Saint Louis from Birmingham between INDYCAR races) and I learned how to make Zoom work for me as well. 

I didn't reach 100,000 people spoken to in my career last year but there's a good chance year 39 will see that through. I'm actually extremely hopeful, for a change, that the following year on this Earth will see good things. Hopefully the pandemic subsides, and presentations become commonplace again. I miss the interactions I had with families and hearing stories from others that help me in my own growth and understanding. I was blessed in having one school presentation and I'm hoping those can happen again soon in a safe manner.

It'll be hard to beat last year. For a bad year it was pretty grand. Heck, I even started my blog once more which I was afraid the proverbial writing well had all dried up. Thankfully it hadn't and thankfully you stuck around after all these years. I'm so grateful to be a small part in raising the level of autism understanding out there and I look forward to trying to make year 39 the best year yet. 

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