I hadn’t planned on writing a specific New Year’s message, but my wife, collaborator, and consistent champion, Nora, pretty much ordered me to do so. As a result, here we are. Before I get to 2018, let me say a few words about the previous year.

As someone much more skilled than I wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” At least, I think that’s how the quote goes. I don’t have the ability to make sure at this moment, which illustrates those “worst of times” fairly well. I won’t dwell on the negative too much other than to say, yes, I went through some incredible hardships during the second half of 2017. However, I take comfort in the fact that I have also spun some of the tribulations into a personal triumph. I’ve made it through the anguish that most of my critics and haters could not even fathom, much less come out on the other side a better man. Oh, and I’m in the best physical shape of my life and I don’t plan on turning back on that front, either.

But what about the “best of times”, you ask? Well, I married the love of my life, the aforementioned Nora. She was with me every step of the way, even though it wasn’t always easy. I am truly blessed to have a woman like her as my better half and I look forward to many more years of love, laughter, and knowing looks. Not only is she the best thing to come out of my online work, she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, period.

Also, 2017, or at least the first part of it, was great for me professionally. The best six months in the history of this site came from January to June of last year. The second half of the year wasn’t nearly as kind, but you have to take the bad with the good. Plus, I wasn’t physically around to contribute as I normally would, so I’m not gonna count that shit. Which leads me to 2018.

My sabbatical ends on February 2nd of this new year, which leaves me with 11 out of 12 months to work with. To say I’m excited about my comeback would be a massive understatement. I feel like I’m a better writer now than I’ve ever been, with lots of room to grow still. I plan to publish a book before the year is out, which I’m a little anxious about, true. But I also have a lot of stories and insights to share, so I’m beyond ready to get that project started. I hope it is well received by you guys.

Speaking of you guys, my number one professional priority will be ramping this site back up to the heights we saw during the first half of last year…and beyond. I thank you all profusely for sticking with me during the rough times. The love, kindness, and support I have had bestowed on me has been nothing short of amazing. I will remain forever grateful for these gifts as I move into the next phase of my career and my life.

Here’s to a magnificent 2018 for you, for me, and for this country.  Let’s kick it up a notch.