This morning I woke up to the same routine that I have for the past few months. Alarm goes off, I stumble through the hallway to the bathroom, relieve myself, squint and glare at the bags under my eyes in the mirror and then make my way to the kitchen to make myself a pot of coffee. As the coffee is brewing, I sit in the chair and fall into deep morning thought with only the glow from my phone to illuminate the kitchen. Forty-four. Twice as old as the year after I could drink legally. Forty-four. My dad was born in 1944 Forty-four. Is the international dialing code for the UK.

Forty-four times I have orbited the sun in an elliptical orbit.

I don't feel it yet, but old age is creeping up on me.

Looking back, I have had a pretty successful year

- Ran my first half-marathon - Mostly finished a first draft of another novel. (Well... it's over 50k words). - I have hovered around the low 190s in weight and stayed away from my arch enemy - 200. - Won $500 gift card for Dicks from a short essay that I wrote about striving to be healthier. - No illnesses to speak of for either myself or the family. - Kids doing well in school with no issues. - April's business is keeping her busy and happy.

It was actually a good year for me, however as I reviewed my thoughts over the past year. There was one thing that stands out as to what impacted me the most. The death of my friend, Bob. I would not have said that Bob was my best friend or even my closest friend, however for Bob, a guy that was well-known to be anti-social to confide in me, have numerous conversations, exchange phone calls, IMs, and emails over the few years that I have known him. He was most definitely a friend and his loss has created a hole in my being that his sometimes grumpy demeanor was only uniquely qualified to fill. I miss that guy.

The sudden loss of Bob led me to face my own mortality and to understand that I should not take every day for granted. I have been around death before however they were almost always a long-term illness, a person advanced in their age or a person that was not very close. To have a friend pass that was only a few years older made me realize that my days left on Earth are finite. I'm not invincible no matter what I said or believed when I was younger.

I have re-dedicated myself to remaining healthy, with a few small vices but to not allow myself to grow back into being sixty or seventy pounds overweight. I also do not want to ignore health related issues and will try to have them checked out or at least pay closer attention to them to prevent future complications.

There is one thing that has come from Bob's death that I'm thankful for is that my core group of friends have become closer. Prior to him passing, I felt that we had started to fade into our own lives and careers. After his death, it seems almost an unspoken agreement that we try to get together as often as we can to celebrate our time together. I feel like his loss has brought us closer together and that is something I'm hopeful will remain.

So for everything that has happened over the past year, It sucks that it had to be Bob's passing that reinforced the knowledge that friends and family are the most important things in life and to make sure that it stays that way.

I'm extremely lucky to have April and the kids and they continue to be the backbone of my life. They all continue to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks as well. Without them I may have continued to carry the withered black heart beating in my chest. Instead all three of them have shown me that carrying your heart on your sleeve is not necessarily a bad thing.

I've rambled on for a bit and now I need to get ready for work as well as my 45th year of life here on Earth.

Oh, did I mention that my goal for my 50th birthday is to run in a marathon? No? Well I guess I just did.

Until next year!