As the year comes to an end I find myself, as I do every year, looking back on the occurrences and comings and goings of the past 365-day rotation around the sun. This year hurt. It hurt really fucking bad.

A year ago I was celebrating the coming new year with people I had grown very close to. We drank whiskey and champagne and prepared for what we had hoped to be an incredible year to follow. On March 20th I lost the job that I’d had for almost exactly one year when Covid became a major concern and The Stanley Hotel Management decided it was in their best interest to fire every member of the Tour Department which I was a part of. From there it all went down hill.

I immediately went back into security work. A job which I am good at, but could never compare to the job I had just lost. I found myself alone a lot. Which is not always a bad thing, but it allows my mind a bit too much time to explore memories I don’t want it touching.

I had to trade in my Ducati, a motorcycle which I had loved and wanted for a long time. It had some mechanical issues and the dealership I got it from terminated their contract with Ducati, so I had to get a different bike or I would forced to take it to a dealership in Denver for services. I ended up trading it for a Triumph, which is a great bike, but it’s another change.

Then the state caught on fire and the fires raged a little too close to my favorite places. Photos of the glow just beyond the ridgelines that surround Estes Park gut punched my soul as I photographed red and black sunsets from a secluded oilfield site I was guarding. Never in my life have I ever been so happy for snow to arrive as I was when it began to fall and quell the fire.

Then we moved. My wife and I decided that our kids and our lifestyle had outgrown our home (and HOA) and we needed to move somewhere a bit more conducive. It was only a move across town, but the leaving from that home after so long accentuated the loss I had suffered from so many friends having to leave and the growing apart that followed. I was the last one of the family to spend any time in the house and that was when the weight of change really hit me full force.

With the move I also changed jobs. Again, nothing will ever compare to being a Tour Guide at The Stanley, but I have found something stable. But it was another big change to have to take in stride.

Now, as we march ever onward in the direction of the new year, I find it difficult to feel celebratory. Yes, 2020 is finally almost over, but life will never be the same and I’m deeply saddened that so much bad was packed into one year. Riots around the world, violence, destruction, sickness, suffering, loss…changes. Changes that can never be undone.

There were good memories this year though. Even though there was so much bad, we did our best to make good things happen. My son lost his first two teeth. We moved to a new house that gave us an opportunity to remodel a bit and really make it what we want. I was reunited with my first guitar and started playing again.

Through all of this I have a few friends who have remained close and many that I made still keep in touch. I still have my family and we have been lucky to stay healthy through the course of the year. Things will move on. The sadness this year has caused will fade. Hopefully soon we will come out the other side of this virus thing and our lives will regain some semblance of normalcy. Life is a roller coaster, after all. Every valley ends in an upswing, every peak has a fast, hard drop on the far side of it. We have a climb ahead of us, but I can’t wait to see what we see at the top of the next peak.

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