154/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s Christmas. It’s time for family. Last year was a crazy time for me. I was separated. I was living on my own. I also decided not to spend Christmas or the holidays with family – immediate or extended. It was my choice. I made the conscious decision to be alone but I did not regret it. A year ago, I was angry at life. I was angry at my immediate family. I was angry at my extended family. I was angry at myself. But I knew it. Having that knowledge allowed me to make an informed choice – either one where I could inflict my upset on others during the holidays or deal with it myself. I decided to go with the latter. This is where growth happened for me. I needed to deal with my emotions – regardless of the time of the year – on my own schedule. I had a lot of pressure to do family things but I decided to hold my ground and separate myself from family to do my own healing. I was lucky to have friends to keep me occupied but one year ago today on Christmas, I was on my own without anyone for the first time in my life and it was actually okay. This Christmas is different. I have moved back home to work on family at this moment – if my spousal relationship heals, that’s great but that is not the focus at the present. When I decided to be a father, I made a commitment to be a father regardless of what was going on in my own personal life. I could never forgive myself if I was away from my kids, especially my teenage son, getting through teen life and making mistakes and me not being there to offer advice/support/criticism. If he/they make the same mistakes while I’m at home, so be it but I am not away focusing solely on myself – that’s not what being a dad was for me – I have to be there. Life is not back to normal – far from it but that’s a good thing. It is way better than what it was before I decided to move out as the appreciation and communication had eroded and now I am consciously working on it. The time away has given perspective for everyone. A lot more growth and healing has to take place but that is what a family is for. I am very fortunate that I have an understanding wife (gratitude post to come when I’m ready) and two awesome children (gratitude post for son in February, gratitude post for daughter back at 9/11) – yes, all this was tough for them as for me but no one said life was easy and this is what relationships are all about. This is what sometimes happens in family. But also family understands better than anyone else and I am very thankful for my family even if they don’t know it. Thank you my wife, my daughter and my son.