This coming week I will celebrate my 33rd birthday, and as silly as it sounds, I don’t quite feel old enough to be 33. I find that the older I get the faster the years seem to go by, and this past week I took some time to reflect on all the things I’ve done in the past year.

The year started with a very busy time in my career—possibly the most busy and stressed I’ve been in my entire life. It was a time of growth for me as a professional, and I learned a tremendous amount about myself in a very short period of time. I was challenged more than I have ever been to date, and working with an awesome team, we overcame those challenges. We are all better for it.

Simultaneously, I was experiencing a very happy time in my personal life becoming an aunt for the first time to twin boys. Balancing work and family life wasn’t easy, and I’m sure I didn’t do it all the right way, but I have so many wonderful memories of those first few months of their life. I don’t have children of my own yet, and I never knew I could love someone so much so quickly.

Soon thereafter, I achieved a personal goal that was really a dream come true. I was given the opportunity to write for the Denver Stiffs! I’ve long been a reader, and a big fan of the Stiffs’ work, and to be able to join their ranks sent me over the moon. It’s been almost ten months, and I’m having a blast working with everyone. I also got the incredible opportunity to contribute to Mile High Sports on Gil Whiteley’s show a couple of times a week—how things can change in a short period of time.

Work began to settle down, and my friends and I started to talk about how fun it would be to take a trip to Europe. We did some quick research, and blocked off ten days for early fall to spend on vacation. It was still about 6 months away, but the thought of going to Europe for the first time gave me something to look forward to. We would eat all the carbs, drink all the wine, and it would be just perfect.

As Spring approached, I began thinking that it was high time I settled down. To buy a house that is. I called up a realtor friend of mine, and in a week’s time we were out looking at houses. Juggling work, writing, being a new aunt, and house hunting was no easy task, but it was so much fun. The months flew by, and eventually I found myself saying yes to a great little property. Forty-five days later, I signed all the paperwork, and became a homeowner for the first time.

My house closing didn’t come a day too early because 12 days later I was boarding a plane to Europe. We started in Barcelona, then headed to Ibiza for a couple of days. We then traveled to Marseille, Cannes, Nice and Monaco before crossing over into Florence, and ending in Rome. Europe was filled with incredible food, wonderful people, great wine, and the best shopping you can find. It was an unforgettable experience, and I can’t wait to go back.

Finally home, I worked to get settled into my new house. I put up my decorations, and played musical chairs with my belongings finding the perfect spot for everything. (I’m still working on this part, but I’m getting there.) I spent hours putting things together, hanging pictures, and made no less than one million trips to Lowe’s. My realtor threw me a house warming party, and all my friends and family got to see my new place for the first time.

Since it was my first year as a new homeowner, I decided I wanted to host family Thanksgiving at my house. My parents always host Thanksgiving, so I called my mom to see if she’d be open to the idea. She was thrilled, and we got to work putting the plans in motion. We worked together to plan the menu, and strategized on where everyone could sit to be the most comfortable. I became a regular at Hobby Lobby, and thank goodness for their half-off sales. To make it extra special, I put up all my Christmas decorations the night before so that everyone could enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in a festive environment.

Thanksgiving Day came, and we spent the day eating, playing football and enjoying each other’s company. I had several family members approach me later to tell me that it was the best Thanksgiving celebration they’d ever had. They may have just told me this to make me feel good, but either way it was a wonderful day.

Even though the year isn’t quite over, I can confidently say that I’m happy with the things I’ve accomplished, and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve been blessed with. Each of these individual experiences has played an important role in how my year has taken shape. Each professional challenge has helped me grow, and every new opportunity has stretched me to new places I didn’t know I could go.

I say all of this to illustrate the importance of every move the Nuggets make this season. Some criticize saying that we shouldn’t focus too closely on one game, but in hindsight, it’s one game that can make or break the entire outcome of a season. It’s one possession, one injury, and one game accumulated over time that makes up the landscape of the season so everything counts.

If the Nuggets are okay with an avoidable loss, time after time, those losses add up to another year without a playoff appearance. If they buckle down to get wins like we saw Thursday, they may just be able to hold their position in the Western Conference in Paul Millsap’s absence. Losing Nikola Jokic for a few games will only makes this play-by-play, game-by-game focus that much more important as the Nuggets are neck and neck with Portland, New Orleans and Utah in the Western Conference standings.

My year has been absolutely wonderful, and I can’t wait to see what my 33rd year has in store for me. I hope it includes seeing the Nuggets make the playoffs.

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