BB2ME #37 — A lot can happen in a year

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I walked into the bar and ordered a Guinness. It is my favorite beer. I was planning to drink several.

It was St. Patrick’s Day 2018. Going to an Irish Pub to celebrate is pretty normal on March 17th. But, this year was different for me.

I was meeting a good friend to drown my sorrows. 2018 was off to a rough start and I was going to drink Guinness until I felt better.

Little did I know that my life would change dramatically that day.

Kim at the Guinness storehouse in Dublin
Kim at the Guinness storehouse in Dublin
I visited the Guinness brewery in 2018.

The first few months of 2018 did not go well for me. My girlfriend and I broke up in January after several wonderful years.

My dad suffered a stroke, almost died, and spent months in a rehabilitation center. I visited him almost every day. He was not a happy camper.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was that my Alma mater, UVA, lost the worse game in the history of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament.

They were ranked #1 in the country and lost to the #16 seed, the University of Maryland in Baltimore County (UMBC). UVA was supposed to win easily, instead, they lost by twenty points. It was humiliating.

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I wrote this billboard as a reminder that life is not static. We live in a constant state of change — the world keeps spinning.

Some things are getting better, while others are getting worse. It is easy for me to fall into a funk when my life is not going well.

That is exactly where I was when I walked into O’Faolain’s Irish Pub on St. Patrick’s Day 2018. My expectations were low, and I was not looking for much more than to drink a lot.

While there, I met Kim Parker. The future love of my life.

What a lucky day indeed.

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Kim and I on one of our early adventures.

Kim and I returned to O’Faolain’s a year later to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and our one-year anniversary. What an amazing year it had been.

We went on numerous trips and spent countless hours together. We talked about life, and sometimes nothing at all.

It is funny that neither of us was looking for a relationship when we met. Yet, we decided to give it a go, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

It is hard for me to express how much better my life was a year later because Kim was in it.

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Kim and I celebrating our 1st anniversary.

I am a planner. Each day I create a “to-do” list. It is usually quite long.

Nowadays I prioritize my big three activities for the day to make sure that I accomplish them. It is a technique learned from Michael Hyatt. His Full-focus Planner is a helpful tool I use to manage my life.

Despite these methods and tools I still overestimate what I can get done in a day. I think most of us do. Some days it is depressing to review my results for the day to learn that I barely accomplished anything on my list.

You may have the same problem. A lack of daily progress on your goals.

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This tool helps me manage my life.

The opposite is true when it comes to a longer timeline. I usually underestimate what I can do in a year. I set annual goals, but they tend to be somewhat conservative, not risky.

The funny thing is that my plans for 2018 did not include any relationship goals. It seemed reasonable to think that I was going to spend the entire year in bachelor mode. The reality is that a lot can change in a year.

My relationship with Kim is a great example. Within a year of meeting, we went from not knowing anything about the other to wondering if we might want to consider spending the rest of our lives together.

If someone told me I was going to meet a potential lifetime partner when I walked into that bar I would have said you were crazy. I underestimate how much can change in a year.

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Kim and I drinking a Guinness at their rooftop gravity bar.

Fast forward to 2020. Kim and I are engaged now. We plan to get married later this year.

In the meantime, the world turned upside down with the COVID-19 health crisis. Like many people, the big goals and plans I had for this year were wiped away. The future seems uncertain in many ways.

It is easy to get discouraged given the current state of the world. I don’t pretend to know the best way to deal with this crisis.

For now, I will continue moving forward, planning for the future, hoping for the best. I still have big plans for 2020 despite all the obvious challenges.

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Big plans for 2020 from my annual goals.

I wrote this billboard back in 2019, yet it seems even more relevant this year. I hope and pray that COVID-19 will be in the rearview mirror by next year.

2020 is going to be a tough year for all of us. Perhaps the worst year of our lives. It is nothing I have seen before — a modern-day plague.

Billions are quarantined, millions have lost jobs, and thousands died of the virus. Sad news on all fronts.

Yet, somehow I remain optimistic about the future. I still believe my best days are ahead of me. I hope yours are as well.

Oh, sing to him you saints of his; give thanks to his holy name. His anger lasts a moment; his favor lasts for life! Weeping may go on all night, but in the morning there is joy.

Psalm 30:4–5

How are you dealing with the crisis?

Have you come to terms with the reality we face in 2020, a year like no other?

I hope so. I pray that the crisis ends soon so that we can begin moving forward towards a brighter future.

Wow-what a difference a year makes. You have no idea what will happen in the next 365 days.


I am Doug Keating and this is my letter to sons.

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I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.

Leader and learner. Father of two young men. Novice blogger,, Founder of All The Way Leadership!

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