The clock turned midnight and 2018 was upon us, I just finished up an amazing year, and was about to embark on a journey I could have never predicted, and experience an Oddessy that would teach me lessons that I'll take with me for the rest of my life.
On December 31st, 2017 I launched Get Better Motivation, and I could not have ever predicted how well it would be received. I have had some truly inspiring conversations with so many people, and with 100% confidence know this was something I was meant to do with my life.
2018 began and I was full of optimism, but nothing could have prepared me for what lied ahead.
In a span of 8 months, my life changed forever.
I lost my Grandfather in January the night before my final semester of college was about to begin. My Grandfather was unlike any to ever walk this earth. He was truly one of a kind and brought an attitude and persona that only the most unique could have.
For a week straight I was going back and forth to the hospital to visit both my sick Grandparents. A week of sadness I could never put into words.
He was the first Grandparent I ever lost in my life. One thing about me is that I have a special bond with each of my Grandparents. Something I am glad I found to be important to me early on in life.
After my Grandfather passed, I went on the best I could with my life to support my family, and focus on all of my responsibilities.
I was a Senior Resident Assitant, Class President, had an Internship at a fantastic company, and was really trying to take Get Better off the ground (even with all the people who were making it out to be a joke at first).
My Grandmother continued fighting Stage 4 Breast Cancer, and our family was focused on bringing her home.
Fast forward to May, and I am now a College Graduate and had the honor to give the Commencement Speech at my graduation. I previously ended my internship, and I was waiting for where my journey was going to take me next.
One week after Graduation I got a new job at another wonderful company down in New York City. I began commuting 2 hours each way to get to work, which was not an issue considering New York City is my favorite place in the world.
Three weeks into the new job, I got a call to get to the hospital as soon as I could.
For four days we waited there with our Grandma, and on the third day, there was nine of us sleeping in one Hospital room to be by her side.
What we did not know was that was our last night with a woman who transcended what the words compassion and love really meant.
My Grandmother was the gift that none of us deserved, but we are wholeheartedly grateful to have been given. She was someone I felt lucky to be in her presence with every moment I had and had that taken from me on a night I don't like to remember.
She had the most lovely service I have ever seen, and hearing how she changed the world one person at a time was the comfort I needed.
Once again my family was what kept me going.
If you know me, you know every move I make, and everything I do is made with the intentions to make my family proud.
We were tested once more just over a month later.
Unexpectedly, we lost our Aunt and Uncle in one moment, and we all began to question what we did to deserve this.
Two amazing individuals molding our family together once more to face an outcome we didn't ever expect.
We all went on vacation to lay our Grandfather to rest two weeks after that tragic week.
It was here where I found peace for a fleeting moment, at what my Grandfather claimed to be his favorite place in the world. Thanks to family we never knew up in Maine, we spent a day full of love, memories, while also creating new memories together.
The next three months hit me hard. I began to reflect on what the past eight months brought my way, and I hit a place where I felt broken.
My sisters were there for me with Kayla taking me to the Wild Card game between the Yankees and the Athletics. Two days later Jacqueline took me to my first concert ever with my favorite artist, Bruno Mars. Both of these were two of the greatest nights of my life.
How I deserved either of my sisters is something I will never understand.
I can't talk about this year without mentioning the solace the Yankees brought me. Although the outcome was not what we wanted, and I was unable to give them the dedication I have in this past, they are still my true passion and I still bleed blue harder than ever before.
Day by day I got back to where I needed to be for my family, and for myself.
I share this with you, not for pity, but to serve the purpose of what a New Year entails.
Nothing could have prepared me for the year that was brought my way, but when I got knocked down, I made sure to get up each time.
You see "It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done."-Rocky Balboa
Losing loved ones, best friends moving away, graduating college, losing a job I loved to finding another great one...no one on this earth knows what tomorrow has in store for us.
In a year full of heart-ache, there was still good. Get Better has impacted more lives than I could have ever imagined, I met my hero Sylvester Stallone and got to be on the movie set of a movie that transformed my life, and much more.
Most importantly I proved to myself that I need to be who I was meant to be, which is a person who doesn't take no for answer and won't stop until his dreams are fulfilled.
My family and I were tested together and proved our bond to be even stronger than any force trying to come our way.
I look towards 2019 with that same blind optimism I had for 2018 because I know the hits will keep coming, but with the love of your family, and the passion to be great, no force can stop the force you create within yourself to go after your dreams.
2019 is the year I plan to take Get Better to new heights.
I don't want it to be a "Happy New Year", I want it to be a "Better New Year".
By making it "Happy" you are leaving yourself limited, but by wanting it to be "Better" than the last you are leaving it full of opportunity.
Of course, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, but what I really want to wish you is a Better New Year.
2019 is your year. 2019 is my year. In 2019, we will Get Better.