527,040 Minutes: The Year that was 2012

Over the last few days I have wondered why this year felt so much longer than normal and then I realized… it actually was longer!  2012 was a leap year, and that extra day seems to have made a real difference.

It is hard for us as a species to appreciate just how substantial a single year is; yet when I am asked about where I was a year ago today I have trouble remembering.  People, events, tasks all flew by… they meant so much to me in the moment, but a year later it is hard to remember most of them.

The Garvis Family – my branch of it anyways – has had a great year.

Aaron raised all of that money to go on a Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic with his school.  Then in the spring he was confirmed, and we were all so proud of him – all of the work that he put into preparing for that special day really paid off.  He played Potiphar (and Jacob!) in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and he graduated from Middle School.  He spent his fifth summer at Centauri Arts Camp, and he started high school at King’s (where he is doing tremendously well).  I look at him now and am shocked that he has grown into a young man… I remember the boy that I met nearly six years ago, and cannot believe that he is my son, and that he is shaving, dating, and looking forward to driving… hopefully not for another 18 months though!

Gilad has grown like a weed… as we approach his third birthday on January 3rd it is amazing for me that 2012 was a full 1/3rd of his life.  He has mastered walking and has started talking; he has outgrown high chairs and booster seats, and the only place where that hard-headed boy will stand for a ‘child seat’ is in the car, where it is of course not optional.  At the table he wants to be just like us though.  He still loves his bottle and noodles, but has grown to accept that there are other foods out there that he can eat.  Just this morning he saw me eating a piece of toast with peanut butter and decided to help!  In October he started attending pre-school at Hamilton Hebrew Academy, and he is absolutely loving it… thriving in an environment where he is not always in charge.

Theresa has enjoyed being a mother this year, but has also done a tremendous amount to help me with my business.  She has taken on the role of accounting (thank G-d!), and has kept track of all of the expenses, contracts, and projects for SWMI Consulting Group.   She is largely responsible for my being able to do what it is that I do – and that is before we acknowledge that she lets me do it, with all of the travel.  She planned several getaways for us this year – some with the family, some just the two of us.  She also quarterbacked countless meals, family visits, parties and such at our home, which she is also completely responsible for.  I couldn’t do it without her!

It has been an incredible year of ups and downs for me… and that is not just with regard to my weight (I have lost and then put back on 45lbs in 2012.  A struggle I keep losing).  However most of 2012 will be chalked up in the positive column.  I achieved several goals this year – I earned my Second Degree Black Belt in June, followed by earning my MCSE: Private Cloud certification that same month.  I turned 40 in July, and while I was not sad to be getting older, I did spend a bit of time in the dumps thinking of friends I had lost.  I also earned my VMware Certified Professional (VCP) 5, which was important for me, even though I do a lot less work on VMware than I used to.

My blog, which had been growing slowly since I re-launched it in November of 2010, grew exponentially this year.  Although the number will drop for December, the hits have grown substantially every month this year (except February).  I have excitedly kept track on Twitter, excitedly tweeting each milestone.  When in early June my hit-count equalled for all of 2011 I was excited by the prospects of doubling that total for 2012; little did I know that I would more than triple the number, in the process hitting the daunting milestone of 100,000 hits for the year (achieved, sadly, the same day as my car accident – December 27th).

Earlier in the year I was recognized by my peers as one of the top 150 influencers in the SMB space – an honour considering the company I am in on that list.  As the year comes to a close the voting continues for the SMB150 list for 2013, and I am thrilled to be in strong contention for a repeat award.  Speaking of repeat awards, my blog was listed on BizTech Magazine’s list of the 50 IT Blogs You Must Read for the second year in a row.  I was thrilled and honoured, but if you know me speechless is rare Winking smile.  I was re-awarded as an MVP for the seventh time, and am glad I continue to be recognized for my community contributions.

Although work did not take me abroad as it has in previous years, that did not prevent me from racking up over 50,000 miles… including eight trips to Montreal, five trips to Calgary, Four trips to Vancouver, Three trips to Ottawa and Seattle, and a plethora of other cities.  I presented in eight Canadian provinces in 2012, and am glad that all tolled my days away was down this year… to a whopping 185.

There are so many milestones and accolades and laughs and tears that I am forgetting I am sure… Theresa and I took a cruise last January and will take another one next week, but this time we are going with friends that we met on the ship last year which is nice.  We went to New Orleans for a week-end and Miami for a week-end – something I hope we get to do more of next year (week-end getaways, whether attached to conferences or not).  We took a family road trip to Minnesota for our niece’s wedding, with a stopover in Chicago, and a new minivan with a rear entertainment system to appease the children during the long drives.  We celebrated milestones, and we suffered losses.  We made new friends, said goodbye to some who did not deserve the title.  We aspired, we achieved, we succeeded and sometimes we failed.  But we did it as a family,and that makes it all special.

If we are to judge how good or bad a year is, I would rate 2012 as a pretty good one.  We are all healthy (despite bouts of the flu, colds, and car accidents).  We are all happy (despite school, crying, and more).  We are all positive (despite the occasional bout of depression or anxiety), and we are all a family (despite the occasional fight or tantrum or punishment).

Over the years I have occasionally mentioned my 14 favourite legs… they started as 16, grew to 18, then sadly fell to 14 (where we have now been for two years).  Theresa has two legs, Aaron two, Gilad two (that’s six); Jacob ‘Puppy’ has four, as does Gingit ‘Licious’.  Tonight I get to hug them all and will wish them all a Happy New Year… as I wish for you and your family.

May 2013 bring you and your loved ones all that you need, enough of what you desire, and some of what you don’t expect to keep it interesting.  May it be a year of health, happiness, love, prosperity, and peace… for all of us.


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