by Steve Clem on December 4, 2009

As 2009 winds down, I look back on what without question was the most difficult and challenging year of my life.

Losing my job, and being on unemployment for nearly 10 months.

Losing my townhouse, and having to scramble to find a place to shelter my sons and continue to feed them.

Losing what I thought was a solid relationship, and in the process learning so much more about people and what to look for in the people I allow in my life.

But the old saying has never been more true for me than before, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

As I look forward to 2010, I look forward to a major career shift, one that will allow me to use my skills in a new way, and one that rather than always facing catastrophe when the economy gets shaky, will allow for growth.

I also have streamlined and simplified my life in a way that has really gotten me back to the basics, like many Americans still need to learn. My sons have learned that “things” are not what is important, but people…and that when they get some special things, they appreciate them even more.

And, most importantly, I have learned that the true friends in my life are there no matter what my job title is, no matter how much is in my bank account. Really the true friends are there no matter what, period.

And you know who you are. You have stood by me and let me vent out my frustrations, or helped me move on a moment’s notice, or helped me find some part time work to help pay the bills. You’ve given me reasons to laugh and smile, and thanked me when I helped you laugh or smile. To each and everyone of you, I can’t say thank you enough for being a true friend, and for all you did.

As 2010 approaches, I have re-learned such a simple, but true lesson – you cannot measure a person by their wealth in dollars, but you can measure a person in their wealth of friends and family. And I am the richest mofo I know in that regard.

Happy Holidays to everyone, and may 2010 be an amazing year of self-discovery and growth for all of you!

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Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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