There was a lot for me to be thankful for in 2019, no matter how challenging the year was. I got to enjoy my new house in the summer for the first time and yes having a swimming pool in my back yard made said summer much more enjoyable. And with my body now free of injuries, I went back to doing the things that make me happy such as hiking, climbing, seadooing and be in nature where I find solace every single time and get to recharge.
Professionally, it was the year my team and I went guns blazing on my passion project HERETIC. Going to war is rewarding when you’re surrounded by the right people and the year proved that in spades. I took two key Los Angeles trips to support the project and it was a rock and roll ride that’s for sure. Looking back I of course appreciate the ups but I also now esteem the downs – they are both part of it, one doesn’t go without the other. I learned to just enjoy the journey. And we’re not done! More battling to come this year and I’m eager to dive in.
Those LA trips also made way for countless unforgettable moments! The fun nights at the Grand Havana Room (big thanks to friend and lead Heretic producer Asko Akopyan for introducing me to that priceless place, I could spend my weeks there), training with the great Ralf Mueller at Gold’s Gym and keeping to the long tradition of seeing my bro Eric Red and his family.
Moreover had my usual bounce/drink fests with my man Michael Noureyh, got to spend time with fellow warrior Kevin Interdonado, a guy I speak on the phone often but that I seldom see, attended the lavish premiere of Arman Nshanian’s masterpiece Songs of Solomon, kicked it with that animal Marc Natoli, broke bread with solid men Matthias Hues and Alexander Nevski, enjoyed my heart to hearts with my bro Paul Sloan, had proper cheese & vino with Nick Vallelonga … yeah I can go on and on, so don’t get offended if you were not mentioned 🙂 Them LA trips made my year.
Alas a good friend of mine passed on in 2019 (still in my heart Kathy McMahon) and the negatives from 2018 did seep into my 2019 and polluted my world for a while and I had a hard time shaking them. But thankfully after much striving and making peace with the dire events that were dragging me down, I finally moved on a wiser man. Funnily enough following 2018’s avalanche of beat-downs, I knew coming into 2019 that I needed a vacation. I usually travel lots, but that’s for work/meetings. I needed to switch off totally just for a week and just “be”. And I finally did. I booked a week at a resort in the Dominican Republic in November and… that backfired big time.
I wound up having a life threatening pneumonia 3 days in, and one thing I learned is that you don’t want to get that in a 3rd world country. From the Blues Brothers like ambulance ride, to the hospital that looked like a butcher shop from the 70’s, to the kicker: when I realized the doctor was hustling me in terms of my diagnosis/treatment in the same way a mechanic would hustle me about my car. That was something. So spent the night, got intravenous, bagged some meds to make the flight back, listened to my body, took my chances and booked out. Not the vacation I had in mind – but that’s okay. Still here and I finally kicked that pneumonia as of today… I think 🙂
Now, I usually measure up my overall happiness by the amount of goals I’ve achieved professionally. And although this year I managed to be a producer on two feature films, be stunt coordinator on another one, start a YouTube channel that’s seeing sturdy success, pulled off selling finished films to distributors, kept Arrow in the Head flying high and have a handful of film projects at the right place, looking back at my 2019, the best thing about my year was something that hadn’t happened to me in a long time: the people.
I’m talking appreciating my loved ones on a all new level, new friendships that were born, the fairly fresh friendships that were solidified further and the long-term friendships that have yet to let me down. So in respect to the many fine folks that surrounded me, had my back in 2019 and helped me grow… THANK YOU. I feel very lucky.
I closing, I don’t do New Years resolutions, because every day of every year I try to better myself on every front. So in 2020, I will take what I learned in 2019 and continue to do my thing while keeping in mind that the higher you climb a mountain, the more dire the obstacles and the harder it is to reach the top. I’m very excited for 2020 – it’s time.by