A Banner Year for the Beckmans.

I trust you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, if you celebrated it. I spent the day at work, but my loverly wife Jade and I found time beforehand — well, during her lunch break — to go out for lunch at a newer restaurant here in town. I ordered a club sandwich, and it was an absolute unit of a sandwich; it was as thick as my face is tall!

Later in the day, this time on my lunch break, I came home to Jade having made a completely surprise steak dinner. Two perfectly marinated and cooked steaks, mashed potatoes (world’s best side dish — and disappointingly absent from most local restaurants’ sides menus), and cream corn. Well, I say “surprise” dinner, but Jade pointed out that she always makes me steak on Valentine’s Day. I— I’m not the greatest with traditions, I suppose.

I often don’t express it well enough, but I am really fortunate to have Jade in my life. Suffice to say, when we first started seeing each other in 2013, my personal life was, well, mixed up. I joke about it now by saying that I tumbled through a mid-life crisis a bit earlier than expected.

Flash forward to this year, and we have victories like having recently purchased our second car together — and the first in both of our names. They’re both 2014s, and naturally, mine’s all decked out in Star Trek gear.

We have family vacations on the docket; well, specifically, we’re planning to go to Myrtle Beach this summer, and later in the fall, we hope, my daughter will get to accompany Jade on a Girl Scouts cruise.

With so much going right, I find myself wondering what else I can improve upon. Is it enough that life improves around me? Well… No. I should be changing too, ever working to better myself.

By way of example, for a period of a few weeks earlier this winter, I gave up eating most beef. I’ve eaten it a bit more frequently recently — I’m not going to turn down my wife’s amazing steaks! — but I frequently forget that if I am eating meats, beef or otherwise, I should do so with gratitude, not toward any god but instead for the creature(s) which died so that I might eat. Having such an attitude, I think, would call to mind as often as I eat the sacrifice of life made of some creatures so that others higher up the food chain, like me, might eat, and that oft reminder could result in a reduction of the amount of meat I eat.

I’m going to study more. I set up an account with Khan Academy; from math to biology, health to physics, I hope to broaden my understanding. I also set my kiddo up with an account — they have math classes for kids as young as 3–5!

I will work on mindfulness and meditation, if only for the clearheadedness that this can help promote.

I’m even thinking about going to the gym with my wife, who’s been asking me to go for some time now.

Basically, I want this year to be a year of bettering myself, of creating habits that not only energize my life but which also strengthens my family.

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