As I look at the calendar, I realize that this is going to be my last column for the year 2009. It will also be the last column I write this decade.
Wow. To think that a decade has already passed since we all loaded up on canned foods and awaited the inevitability of Y2K. I can remember counting down the last seconds of 1999 and waiting to see if the world just came to a halt as the calendar switched to 2000.
I also remember that time because I was a bright eyed high school senior, ready to get out of Mom and Dad's house and to take on the world.
Well, here we are. Ten years later and I can say with confidence that I am out of Mom and Dad's house, and I'm still getting ready to take on the world, albeit with fewer hairs on my head.
There has been so much that has happened over the course of the last 10 years. The obvious moments like 9/11 and the start of the ''War of Terror'' and the less obvious to the general public like my graduation from college, my marriage and the birth of my son.
I suppose that the time between the end of school and a person's late 20s are often the most influential time of an adult's life. Falling in and out of love to finally find the person that you've been looking for and making mistakes along the way to see how hard you are really capable of working.
Thinking back to the teenager I was at the beginning of this decade and the person that I am now, I realize how much I've changed over the years.
I thought back then that I was going to remain with my high school sweetheart and that I was going to be a massive success from day one. I have, however, realized that my plans and the plans laid out for me are very, very different.
I can say that I feel that I am now becoming a success, but in a much different way than I expected. Then I still believed that I would end up a rock star, touring the world with my eclectic blend of punk rock, hard core metal and speed polka. I believed that I would be a millionaire before I turned 30.
I am not a millionaire and I am not a rock star, but I am glad that I am where I am and that I am the person that I'm becoming.
Through the struggles of a college student and then a young adult searching for work, I have realized what it's going to take to become a success. I no longer want to spend my time out on the town, I want to be home with my family.
It may sound lame to some, but I can honestly say that is where I've found myself to be the happiest. My success will come with knowing I've done the best I can raising my son to be a good man.
I'm coming to learn that money is just that ... money. In college I used to eat peanut butter with a spoon, and guess what? I still do. Not because I have to, but because it tastes good, and I don't want to spend the time spreading it on bread.
I don't know what to expect for the next 10 years. I know that I will lose more hair, get a little thicker in the middle and start to panic about the reality of turning 40. That is, however, a long way off.
As this year comes to a close I can look back at myself at 17 and at myself now, and I can truly say that there isn't a chance in the world that I would trade my Christmas this year with the one I had back then. I was the child then, opening gifts from my parents. This time I get to watch my little one enjoying the wrapping paper and boxes of the toys that he is ignoring, and that is more than I have ever hoped for.
I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year. Enjoy and appreciate these small moments, and always be smart and be safe. I'll see you all in 2010.
Joshua can be reached with gifts of candy and cookies at firstname.lastname@example.org