Commentary: The Year That Was Supposed To Be For The Books, But Had Other Plans

How do I describe 2019?

It depends on the context. In this case, the context is this work. That opens up a roller coaster of recollections. But, you would rather read the summary. Forget everything I could say further, just give me a short answer, you say.

Fine.

The year 2019 was a mix of good and not so good. There you have it.

Oh, now you want specifics! OK, fine

The good parts of the year could be described in two parts. The first part that ran up to the first week of May were mostly good. A lot of goals were accomplished, thanks to the four outlets I wrote for and a consulting gig that kept me going all year long.

I could recall the three auto shows I worked at, the travel I accomplished, and the vehicles that marked the first part of the year. But, I would not want to bore you with the details. This entire site has all of the stories you should read – and believe me, I could have used every reader to keep this site on everyone's bookmarks.

Then came the not so good part of 2019. I dealt with a frustrating set of health issues for a longer period of time than I wanted to deal with. My so-called care team could not find anything that would fit a proper hypothetical diagnosis. They simply wrote it off as my not taking care of myself overall and simply told me to do so.

There was a scare in the middle of that crazy bad period of 2019. My doctor threw the word "cancer" at me. That would be the one word I did not want to hear as they tried to figure out a diagnosis for me. In the end, my doctor took back that word when all of the tests were reviewed and exhausted.

If that word ended up being my diagnosis, I would not be writing this article. Believe me, I was ready to give up on everything. I'm glad I didn't.

However, I tried my hand at normality as I began to fight back from my health issues. I attempted to be out there in the car community and tried to be as normal as I possibly could. Did I succeed? Let's just say "I tried."

By the first of July, I was on the mend and was back to work. I took part in media events, started to work on road trip stories for multiple outlets, and so forth. My production was back up. You have the evidence of the work to show you how much I fought back from those two lost months.

Physically, I am much better than I was several months ago. It may have come with a price. I know I'm walking around with some permanent damage to somewhere in my body. A friend and colleague of mine observed that I am probably 80% of myself now than, say, back this April. I definitely agree with that summation. I know I will be in a constant battle with my body and soul for the rest of my life.

Please understand that this is not a statement to induce some sympathy from you. Leave the crying emojis for those who preen for it. Let me manage this damage and keep on working on the positives that bring me happiness and light. They include this website, the three other outlets, and my consulting work. These are the stuff that keeps me "in the game."

I know that it will not last forever. Yet, it is still going. That, again, I am very grateful.

What keeps me going are the people that I have connected with positively. If you are one of these people – thank you! You helped make this year bearable. You got through that rough patch to get me through to the other side. You applauded when I handed over another #VOTY in Chicago to Lexus. You applauded again when I returned back to DC. You threw me questions on vehicles that I had been working on.

We even got to hang out. Such a novel idea considering how we have regressed into a social media-driven world where we're all gawkers and trolls, sliding into DMs, and challenging our states of emotional health.

Interpersonal interaction and engagement make this work – and life – fulfilling. Yes, we can be professional. We can also be personal. We could also be present.

This year ends on a brighter note. I'm happy to be alive, active, and present. I'm happy to be still putting in the work. There's more work ahead to accomplish. You're invited to join me for another year – and the start of a new decade.

Photo by Randy Stern

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