2015 was a year of incredible highs and terrible lows. It’s been a galactic roller coaster. “Hey, look, it’s the beautiful Milky Way… Uh, wait, how did I end up in a planet’s molten core?” Ugh. Life threw a lot of extremes at me, and is every reason why I had some angst.
The first half of the year was amazing. Just amazing. After a lot of hard work I published the third book in the Angst fantasy series, Drowning in Angst. It was a fun book to write and has been well received, meaning I haven’t gotten any hate mail. That’s a good sign.
Reasons to Celebrate
A lot of great things happened personally that I will always remember. My friend, Marina, got married. Not only did I get to throw her a wedding shower, but I got to sit where family would as she walked down the aisle. I was very touched. We also celebrated her 25th birthday with some good friends on a lake trip that I’ll always remember.
This fall, I officiated a wedding for my friends Ashley and Travis. I’ve never done that before and couldn’t be more flattered to be included in something so important. How often do you get the opportunity to help friends take that step? It was glorious.
Not only do I love going to cons, I love spending time at cons with my best friend, Cristi. We have the best adventures at cons! This year, our friends Marina and Mayra joined us at ConQuesT in Kansas City. The three of them made that weekend amazing! Not only were they beautiful, not only did they help sell books, but more importantly, we had fun! A friend from work recently asked if Marina was one of my muses. She wasn’t sure if that was the right word, but I was. From here forward I will refer to Cristi, Marina, and Mayra as my muses. All of them are inspiring.
As great as the first half of the year was, the second half was rough. A friend lost her daughter to suicide. My wife and I were close to both of them, and the word tragic doesn’t cover it. I’ve never experienced grief before, and I really never wish to experience it again. I know I will. I think about this every day, and my heart goes out to her family even if it doesn’t make it better.
More recently, my mom had a double mastectomy. She’s been battling cancer on and off since I was in college. She’s a fighter, and she’s doing better, but nobody wants to see their parents vulnerable to age or sickness. The good news is that she is just finishing up her final surgery this weekend, and all seems good.
I’ve learned a lot from this year. The most important thing is, don’t hesitate to tell someone you love them. Ever! Not for a second! They may not be here tomorrow for some stupid reason. Tell them, even if it is awkward or weird or is hard. They need to know, and you probably need to tell them. It goes beyond this. Tell people you appreciate them. I fear that we live in a world of hate, it needs all the love we can pour into it. All of it.
Leave What Ifs Behind
Also, don’t stop trying. While I didn’t learn this for the first time this year, my belief has been reaffirmed. Facebook kindly reminded me that I published Angst five years ago. That’s a long time in media years. I can’t imagine how many books and movies and articles and comics have been produced since then. In the short attention span theater of our time, Angst could be long forgotten. But, just the opposite is happening. New readers are still discovering it, relating to it, and enjoying it. Five years after publishing Angst, I received my first handwritten letter thanking me for writing it. Maybe Angst is not going to be forgotten, maybe it’s just getting started! It just proves to me that whether you are five or ninety-five, follow those dreams and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Life is way too short for what ifs.
This year has been a journey of ups and downs. I’m still reeling a bit from the bad times, and making sense of the good. I think it’s good to take a moment and look back on this. Not to dwell or wish something had gone differently, but to remember what it all was. Appreciate the good, learn from the bad, respect that life happens without my input, and then shake it off. Now it’s time to move forward. 2016 is going to be a great year, I’m going to make it so.
Thank you for being a part of my year, and I hope the only Angst in your New Year, is my books!