Dear 2019…

You have been interesting to say the least. We have had some good times. We have had some rough times. We have moved forward. We have stepped backward. We have loved. We have lost. We have learned to begin again. When we started the year, we were struggling in more ways than most people will ever know and fewer will be able to comprehend. As our time together is coming to an end, I wanted to thank you for the lessons and experience you have given me… I will never be the same person because of you.

See in January, we started off with a totaled car. Within a week, we quit a job. We were in an unstable relationship. We were over $45,000 in debt and on our way to losing the roof over our head. A few tough weeks of scrambling and planning and we got a break with a new job to move forward toward our dream.

As February started, we couldn’t see past the day in front of us. A lucky break landed us a beautiful $700 car we found on craiglist. We worked every day to learn, to grow, to shed, to live, to work through the pile of clutter that was holding us down…

In March, we started to see some light. We moved forward in a positive direction. Every day was a chance to grow and improve. We read more, ran more and worked to stabilize as much as we could on a day to day basis…

April brought a little breathing room for a little bit, but soon the fresh air was taken away with the realization our roof was going away soon… Not knowing what to do, it was time to jump without a net and work to soften the crash as best as possible.

May brought some good fortune in the middle of the chaos. We passed the personal training test and earned a new certification in behavioral health. A lot of hard work was beginning to pay off and I could see some positive light starting to peak through. Watching the light was what got me through the day as I threw out most of my possessions as I was losing a place to call home.

June brought a renewed energy with a fresh focus on Leadville. I put my head down and worked, learned, trained and found any way to make myself better.

As July rolled around, I had one thing on my mind… until I lost a major person in my life. One day she was here and the next she was gone… The one person from the last two years to overlook my mistakes and give me a chance I didn’t deserve flashed in and out of my life. I lost one of my biggest supporters in a blink of an eye. I was shocked. I was lost again. With the loss, I realized I had been missing something in my life and had no idea what it was…

Here came August and there it went. Leadville came and went without much of a fanfare. I did good. I was proud of myself. I did the best I could have asked for. I was still missing something… I realized there was a huge gap in my life. I lost the love and support of another important person in my life.

September started and then it ended… I didn’t even know it was there. Struggling to overcome the sadness and recover from a huge emotional let down was difficult. Sleeping the backseat of my car made it real. Living day to day wishing a break would come along was most of what pushed me through the day…

With October most of the way done, I look forward to starting the new year fresh. I have spent the last couple weeks struggling to put myself together so I can set myself up for success in the new year. I have allowed myself the grace to focus on the most important tasks and let everything else chug along behind. I have cleared up many aspects of my life. I’ve gained control and stability in other important areas. I have more work to do in some other places too. I have learned a lot about myself over the past couple months. I have been challenged in ways I never knew I could be. I have overcome some huge obstacles and moved forward past some tough barriers.

As I’m curled up in my sleeping bag to watch the sunrise each morning, I am reminded of how grateful I am to be living my dream. The challenges, setbacks, adversities, struggles and every other piece of hell that has been thrown at me this year has fueled my fire. My flame is burning brighter than ever. I watch the sunrise knowing if I follow its guidance of shining bright after the darkest night, I will continue to move forward in the direction of my dreams.

I had no idea the hell this year would bring me. I had no idea what challenges I was going to have to overcome. The universe has taken everything away from me piece by piece over the past year, two years, five years, ten years… I have been stripped down to nothing and have been forced to rebuild again, day by day, piece by piece, moment by moment… There have been days I wanted to give up and give in just to stop the pain. There have been days the suffering has made me want to curl up in a ball and cry the day away. I have watched my dreams stay strong and my action continue forward. I have felt a constant pull to a future only I can see and few understand. I have faced resistance and pushback from the people I love. I have pushed through walls put up by people around me. I have persisted through the darkest times with the vision of light shining three feet in front of my feet…

2019 has forced me to stare directly at hell and scream “do your worst”… all the while it has done just that…

There has been and will continue to be no time for whining and complaining… just time to step up and continue putting in the persistent effort. My patience has been tested but my vision still stands strong. As 2019 comes to a close, I am grateful for everything I have learned this year. Without the struggles, adversities, ass kickings and raw feelings, I would have never grown into the person I am today. Although most people will never see the steps I’ve taken to grow this year and many more will never get to experience benefits of the past two years of growth, I am certain what is coming in the future is better than what has been forced to stay in my past.

I will never forget what it is like to live homeless, alone and hungry just hoping that tomorrow will bring hope knowing she is gone. I have been forced to look in a new direction wishing, dreaming and discovering what is next to come.

To 2020, I am looking forward to you. I’m looking forward to your challenges, your lessons and your forward progress. You will be EXTRAORDINARY and I’m looking forward to embracing the journey you will bring with every new sunrise.

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is doing the right thing when no one is watching.” My friend, my mentor, my visionary, my fearless leader… The man that taught me the laws of the universe, the road to success and showed me the way to build a life worth living… Mr. Jim Rohn

Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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  1. Thanks for sharing some reflections, Gary! You’re one of my favorites and I know you will always land on 2 feet, even if you are all scratched up. Always here, my friend.


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