Today is a significant date for me: it was exactly one year ago, that I lived, very possibly, the most challenging day of my life.

In the last year I…

Had my heart broken more times than I have in the rest of my life combined

Cried instead of slept more nights than I want to admit

Drove hundreds of miles a week for no reason but to listen to music and think

Quit all my high-paying music jobs at a time when everyone I knew thought I was crazy

Packed everything that mattered into my car and moved across the country for nearly 9 months

Slept on the floor of a commercial building 10 feet from my recording gear far more often than I slept in any bed…  Not because I had to – but because I didn’t want to leave the studio

Stayed up all night working on music and slept all day a LOT – which oddly enough made sleeping on the floor feel more appropriate

Played more shows to amazing, interested, listening crowds than any other year in my life

Started conversations with hundreds of strangers for no reason

Strangers – both guys and girls – were so nice; that I ended up adopting the belief that – despite evidence to the contrary – people are good.  I had never really thought that way before.

Made more new friends than I’ve made in the rest of my life combined

Had more fun than I’ve ever had with people that astounded me with their warmth and encouragement

Took the damn bull by the horns and started doing a bunch of stuff that I’ve always wanted to do

Spent an entire month doing things I was absolutely terrified of and ended up adopting the attitude that almost nothing is scary enough to warrant what we feel when we’re afraid

Went after my dreams with more fire and intensity than I knew I had

Made the best album of my “career” and the first album I wouldn’t change if I could.

For the first time, I feel like the man I’ve always been in the best corners of my mind. I’m unapologetically proud to be who I am.

This year, there was more pain, more anger, more emptiness, more tears, more thrills, more courage, more excitement, more passion, more certainty, more dreams, and more pure, intense, fire than I ever thought possible.

It was –without a doubt – the best year of my life.

I’m starting to get the feeling that that’s the way life sometimes works – you fall hard, so it feels that much better to get back up.  Contrast defines everything.  The worse things get, the more perspective you have, and the better things feel when you finally conquer them.

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but this year has given me reason to believe that no matter how bad it gets – at least here in a land of abundance – our biggest job is to stand up, soldier through the storm, and KNOW that if we keep our heads up don’t let it keep us down, we’re guaranteed the kind of good down the road that makes the most epic personal devastation seem petty in comparison.