Happy holidays everyone! I will start by saying that 2012 was the best year of my life. I have said that about each of the year last three years, so it suffices to say that I am happy with the direction my life is going. My happiness and enthusiasm for life are at an all-time high, and I am cherishing every interaction. This year was so unforgettable for so many reasons. In 2012 I continued to strengthen relationships with family (baby niece!) and friends, whipped myself into the best shape of my life physically and met so many wonderful people while seeing a lot of the world. Things went well professionally for me, which was a nice sweetener after a disappointing year in 2011.
It's hard to believe another year is complete. I remember as a kid being so intimidated by something being a year away. It goes without saying that time seemingly goes so much faster the older and busier we get. Our time here really is so valuable, so I think it is important that we all do our very best to live life to the fullest. I've said this before, but I look back on how I was living my life in the poker business from age 21-24, and I was just really doing things incorrectly. At the end of the year I looked at my Excel spreadsheet and, inexplicably, made a determination of my happiness based on just how red or just how black that figure was. It has been so nice to pull myself from that mindset and become a more well-rounded individual who has interests, passions and goals. I finally bought into the philosophy that one really shouldn't concern himself or herself with the opinions of others. You want to talk about liberating? I've been living my life confident that my decisions are on point. I hope this is not coming across as self-important because that is certainly not how I intend it to read. My hope is that younger poker players who are new to the business read this and don't fall into the same bogged down lifestyle that once held me captive.
I did a lot of reading over the last 18 months on a variety of types of self-improvement. In addition I had the opportunity to spend 135 eye-opening days outside USA in the leap year that was 2012 (118 were spent at my residence in Birmingham, Alabama and 113 were spent Stateside outside Birmingham). The travel and the reading are two of my fondest memories from the calendar year as I feel like I gained so much perspective that otherwise had been lost on me. I've been fortunate to land in a line of work where I have a ton of freedom and realize that kind of travel is not realistic. Still, I challenge you guys to get out there and do some of it! Stay positive when things get tough. Adopt a sense of awareness. Look around. Things could certainly be much worse. Sometimes I'll be chilling on Facebook or Twitter and am just left shaking my head at the general negativity and complaining that has become so commonplace. There is just no place for it. Sadly, I was guilty of this for the longest time.
I kind of want to live in the moment in 2013. I'm going to wake each morning (afternoon?) enthusiastically and try to make the most of my time, wherever that may be. I've only really scheduled as far as mid-March. With regard to poker, there are certain high value tournaments that I have to play almost obligatorily. I'm going to the BCS National Championship in Miami to watch my alma mater Alabama take on Notre Dame, and then I'm going to play the European Poker Tour's PCA stop in Nassau, Bahamas. In late January, I'm going to play World Poker Tour Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey for the first time since 2007. My dad and I are going to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in early February, and I'm currently training for a half-marathon that I will run on February 17th in Birmingham. I'll most likely hit a couple of WPT stops in Los Angeles and San Jose, CA in late February and early March. That said, there are no signs of things really slowing down.