28 years on this funny old planet.

Nathan and Elizabeth on a raft at an amusement part water ride

The last year was the strangest, wildest, most significant, most enjoyable, most impactful year of my life so far.

It started (literally, the first day of being 27) with me meeting my incredible girlfriend, Elizabeth.

I had so many items on my bucket list I wanted to cross off, and with Elizabeth’s help, I crossed off so many. I feel like I lived three years over the past 365 days, but in a year jam-packed with endless memories, there are several that especially stick out to me:

  • Having the best first date of my life, and hitting it off immediately with Elizabeth
  • Going to Disney World and Universal Studios
  • Taking Elizabeth to Biltmore, Grandfather Mountain, and DollyWood for the first time
  • Watching fireworks on the 4th of July in borrowed convertible
  • Buying my first new car ever (a hybrid!), and a new bicycle
  • Taking Elizabeth to go pet a cow (a dream of hers)
  • Driving to Nashville to assist with an AR Sandbox setup for one of our customers
  • Watching In The Heights, Roadrunner (The Anthony Bourdain movie), Dune, and Encanto (among others). What a fantastic year for movies!
  • My first Christmas with Elizabeth
  • Getting dressed up and going on a really fancy date for Valentine’s
  • Visiting “Buc-ee’s” for the first time
  • Being “forced” to quarantine with Elizabeth for two weeks before we had officially moved in together
  • Multiple trips to get away for the weekend in Gatlinburg and Asheville
  • Sitting on a boat dock dangling our feet in the water
  • Ringing in the New Year with a kiss
  • Moving… twice

And there were a few things of note that weren’t so pleasant (a second kidney biopsy, a visit to the ER for Liz, a few periods of illness, some legal drama), but that’s just a testament to how much living I managed to fit in in the last 365 days.

And in general, I’m happier and healthier than I’ve been in ages. To list some of the most significant ways:

  • For the first time in years, I finally have energy to get through the day. I partially attribute this to getting a CPAP, which lets me sleep without waking up dozens of times each night. I also attribute this to a new medicine regime to better manage my kidney disease and its effects.
  • My kidney function is, mostly, holding stable, and the biopsy confirmed that the core cause of my disease hasn’t caused additional loss of kidney of the past couple years.
  • I’ve lost ~ 25 pounds since last year.

So what do hope my 28th year on the planet holds?

  • I want to propose
  • I want to take more photos, and finally, properly organize my photo library
  • I want to get my finances in order, and start saving for honeymoons and houses and kids
  • I want to get my new app out in the world, and get my old app in tip-top shape again
  • I want to go for more walks. For more bike rides. To get outside more and enjoy the world.
  • I want to keep the good stuff going. More working in coffee shops. More coffee dates. More reading. More movies. More music. More lazy Sundays. More road trips. More time with Elizabeth.
  • I want to contribute more. More OpenStreetMap contributions. More pull requests. More reviews. More donations.

I love my life. I’ve found a partner that I adore, I’ve found a daily routine that works for me and brings me happiness, I’ve found somewhere I feel at home, and I’ve found ways of living that bring me joy.

Year 27 was spectacular. I have no doubt 28 will be even better.