It's the middle of the night and the house is quite. There is the slow steady tick of a cheap battery wall clock and now the sound of my keyboard, but that's about it. After promising to start blogging again, I didn't. Well, that's not entirely true. I've been writing for a year now - but it hasn't been on this blog.

It has been one of the most trying, rewarding, and interesting years of my life. I suppose that there will be another time to explain why but it does seem appropriate to stop and reflect on the past year.

The year started with my last semester in college. College has been an incredible experience but it's hard to give it an adequate explanation and feel like I've done it justice. While I look back and see the growth that has happened over the years, I must also recognize what made that growth possible. When graduation came, there was a flood of emotion. Feelings of accomplishment and pride, feelings of regrets and goodbyes, feelings of hope and uncertainty. Everything kind of hit at once.

After graduation I was lucky enough to find great employment. It was a new beginning with new people and new phase of life. I've done well there so far. That hasn't been the end of change though. It has happened consistently and progressively. Again, it hasn't been easy but it has been oh so worth it.

As 2014 approaches, I have to look forward. I'm in a place now that feels easy to settle. I could easily become complacent where I am. Somehow, setting the traditional "New Years Goals" feels cheap though. I've set so many in the past. Some I have accomplished but most I haven't. I think a more appropriate term may be 'principles to live by.' Maybe by setting some guiding principles I can keep myself heading in the right direction.

I've chosen to focus on 5 this year.

This is first on the list and it's not by accident. If I have learned one thing in the past year, it's been that human connection matters. It's arguably the only thing that matters. Today I walked around my grandmother's old yard. Much of it is gone. The flowerbeds and plants that she used to take care of are no longer there. Hopefully I'll see her again but it won't be in this life. Her time here was beautiful but the most beautiful part of her wasn't the flowerbeds and plants around her house. The most beautiful part of my grandmother was my grandmother's life which was made up all those she touched. Millions of small, seemingly unimportant interactions with others.  So the top of my principles to live by list this year is to love. To put myself out there. To make new friends. To make the friends I have better friends. To grow closer to my family and those I love. To forgive easier and forget quicker. To see the good in people and help others reach their goals.

I graduated with associates in degrees in accounting, financial/managerial accounting, and business from LDS Business College. I then got a bachelors in finance from the Hunstman School of Business at Utah State University. Now I'm out on my own. My employer has already expressed interest in a long term commitment. I'm not sure that's my path though. Somehow I wouldn't feel right knowing that I had a chance to get more education and not taking it. Academically, I want to get ready to take the GMAT. I'm not planning on going back to school yet but I want to be ready to when the time comes. Otherwise, I've done a fair amount of research on varying topics. The last couple of months I haven't done much of it. I think I need to pick it up again. I think successfull people keep learning. They don't need the structure of a school to keep their minds sharp and open to new ideas.

Over the past year, I've had the incredible opportunity to meet a lot of people who were willing to take down their guards and share their life with me. What I've learned is that life is messy. We don't like to show our weaknesses but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. What's more is that the most incredible people that I've met had every reason to hide their weakness and instead made a conscience decision to let it go. To forget putting up a facade and instead faced their fears of rejection and uncertainty. While it hasn't always been easy, I don't know of anyone that has regretted replacing their fears with a desire to move past them. For me, this may mean paying a price at times for something I believe in. I only hope that going forward, I have the courage to do so.

In a TED talk by Rene Brown titled "The Power of Vulnerability" the following quote is given

"Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty. I'm right, you're wrong. Shut up. That's it. Just certain"

On the back of my "courage" principle, I'll admit that my faith is just that - it's faith. My spirit principle is not limited to religion though. It's about feeling fulfilled in every way. I suppose that this is one of the more personal topics so I'll leave it at.

Finally, the most cliche of topics at new years makes it's way onto my list. Frankly I'm tired of typing. So I'll make it short. Be a healthy person.

I've chosen to try to live by principles by I'd love to hear what everyone is doing for 2014.

Dale out.

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