Another year is passing into the rear-view mirror. So much has changed in the last 365 days and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little sentimental. In fact, I almost feel moved to tears.

Failed adoptions

2013 got off to a rough start. We’d just had our second failed adoption and it was taking a toll on us. Everyone tells you it’s part of the process. You get your hopes up, you think you’ve been matched, and then the bottom falls out. But nobody can prepare you for the devastation. It’s similar to the mourning you go through after a death, and as silly as that may sound, a lot of expectant parents feel it. A dream has died. You build up these future moments in your head, imagine the life with this child, and then it all slips away.

Poor health

I was also in the worst shape of my life as we started the P90X program. I weighed more than I ever had before at almost 160 lbs. That’s “normal” and “healthy” as far as normal and healthy go. But it’s still 20 pounds more than I used to weigh and I could feel it when I tried to stuff myself into my jeans, unable to fasten the button. I could see it in photos when my cheeks looked like a chipmunk’s. Worse yet, I just didn’t have the energy I knew I should have. My joints hurt, I was tired by 2PM. I knew I needed a change.

P90X was a great start. I can’t say I came out looking like the guys in the infomercials. Results like those are possible, but uncommon. But I was more muscular, more flexible, and had a lot more stamina. It was a very good start, and I could really start to feel it by springtime.

Even worse stomach problems

Despite the improvements I was making in my overall health, there was still a huge battle going on. My digestive health was at its worst. I was sick almost every day, and I couldn’t figure out why. I went to doctors and specialists. They gave me lots of drugs, which helped a little, but didn’t fix the problem.

I didn’t find out what the real problem was until just this month—December! It turns out I have a gluten sensitivity. It’s not the same as Celiac disease; I’m not allergic to gluten. But apparently people can still have a sensitivity, meaning their stomach gets upset when they eat food with wheat, rye, and other grains.

The food I was eating with P90X was packed full of gluten because wheat is supposed to help you feel full. Well that was the problem! Because I was eating even more gluten-based foods than normal, I was feeling the pain and sickness amplified.

Thankfully I am enjoying the best stomach health I’ve had in over 20 years. I still have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is incurable. But thanks to eliminating the foods that trigger it, as well as removing gluten, I finally feel like I have an almost “normal” stomach. It’s something I’ve never experienced in my adult life, and it’s so gratifying.

Changing my outward image

Every year for Halloween, I want to be some type of warrior or super hero, and every year, I don’t do it because I don’t feel muscular enough, or I’ve put on a few pounds, or whatever the excuse is. For 2013, I insisted that I would get myself into shape and finally be comfortable in my own skin… And I did it!

I bought a Spartan warrior costume and I wore it out on Halloween. I was really shy about it at the time, but I’m glad I did it. That was just the beginning of me being healthier and happier with my outward appearance.

I’ve improved my health even more since then, and I feel better than ever.

Looking ahead

I know that 2014 will bring a lot of love and happiness into my life. In January, Daniel and I are getting legally married. Although we had our ceremony in 2011, I do think that having legal recognition is a very important step to finally solidifying a basic right that I believe all humans are entitled to; the freedom to marry the person they love, regardless of gender.

And of course I really hope 2014 is the year we finally adopt our son. I am sad and disappointed that it didn’t happen in 2012 or 2013, but I suppose it’s all part of a larger plan. Something bigger than us must have felt the time wasn’t right yet, so I hope the new year is finally the time.

I hope you all have a happy and safe time celebrating the new year, and look forward to sharing many more adventures with you in 2014!

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About Nathan

I'm a happily married gay man, writing about my life as a new father and sharing our adventures with a side of snark.
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