Well, it’s 11:58 p.m. and I caught the bug, definitely not the sleeping bug, but the writing bug. (And a little bit of the flu bug, but I’ve had that for a couple weeks now.) It’s the end of the year and I feel the need to bring people up to speed on my life and to thank everybody that has been in it. I could write a good five-page thesis of thank you’s to all of the amazing people I have in my life, and I will, but I’ll get to that near the end. 

Let’s see… where to start… I’ve received the amazing pleasure to be able to travel numerous times within the past year. So much so that there are times where I haven’t even known where I am calling home. (But no fear, I’m still calling Fargo home presently.) I was able to steal one of my best friends away from his fiancé and have a weekend getaway in Florida early in this year, only to bring myself back to Florida to visit one of the best chef’s I know at Disney in the fall. I also was able to travel a couple times in between for numerous occasions. 

The year has truly been a whirlwind of experiences. If you were to have asked me last January if I would be working with superheroes, or working with a new technology company, or helping make plans for large events, I would have without a second though said, “I highly doubt it” but regardless. I thank the lucky stars for the experiences I have been able to have this past year. Earlier this year I started working for a new tech messaging company with an amazing community and was able to engage adventure into new areas of the world with the company, it’s creators and it’s users. Through that trip, I was introduced to the amazing world of comic cons and it’s vivid fan bases. I learned through my time the incredible environment of all the individuals involved are much more than people that dress up and travel to places together but are much more of an extremely large quirky family than anything else. I also learned that experiences are everything. I truly feel connected to the world that I had the pleasure of working in. 

This year I celebrated another year on the Board of Trustees for the Minnesota 4-H Foundation at the University of Minnesota. Through this opportunity, I have been able to learn and interact with the way the entire 4-H system is seen as both inside Minnesota and outside it. I continue to count my lucky stars with being involved in this opportunity and I continue to be excited about what the future of 4-H and Minnesota 4-H will look like! My involvement with 4-H has found myself trickling into the county I love (that being my home county of Ottertail County) and was involved on the technology and social marketing side with them for the third year and again knocked a great county fair out of the park! I have been also able to expand my independent consultation of services and have had amazing clients to work with and have benefited from clients that are willing to work with me and move both their objectives and mine forward at the same time. 

As I said earlier I’m still calling the beautiful city of Fargo, ND my home currently. (Yes, it is beautiful, but we won’t talk about the wind…) The past year I have been able to accomplish one of my goals to spend more time downtown and enrich in the vivid community. When I’m in Fargo on Wednesday's you could find me at 1 Million Cups, Tuesdays at 20 Below Coffee, and Saturdays Sandy’s Donuts and I so many other “mini-traditions.” I have also recently begun working for a super fun company downtown called Spotlight Media. (They publish whole crew of Magazines, and are truly the go-to if you want to know about the Fargo-Moorhead community.) I’m working on their digital website side and creating and working on social content for them and have truly been a swiss-army tool lately learning. 

I have also just wrapped up my Fall semester at NDSU (Go BISON!) with a ton of knowledge and learning to multitask competently. I can definitely tell you I have mastered the ways of creating a structured calendar. (Or at least, structured enough for my needs.) I have learned so much from my amazing professors and instructors and I thank them wholeheartedly. With my work experiences, I have been able to literally put something I learned in class on Monday straight into the real world that week and implement it. (That’s absolutely amazing in my opinion because for me that’s the best way to learn.) 

Lastly, I want to thank everybody in my life. That goes for anybody that I have talked to or not this year or in the previous years. You have helped me expand my understanding, experience new concepts and truly undertake amazing feats. Without you all, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Thank you, for the time you have given me and the time I will undebatably try to get from you in 2016. The year has been truly a year of experiences, learning and advancing both personally and professionally. My personal life has seen trials and celebrations (Yes Mom, not everything is always perfect. But believe in the son you taught and nurtured, I can handle it.) and I wouldn’t go back and change any of the experiences or challenges that I have faced. I without a doubt have room to grow and always will, but I thank the world for the experiences I have been given and the people in my life.

While this will be the "end" of my New Years letter this is undoubtably not the end of things I should talk about. I'm sure I'm leaving at least a handfull of things out. But with that said there are things to do and definitely sleep to catch! 

So from me to you I wish you and yours an amazing New Year!

-Austin

PS: I'm sure there are spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in this letter, but mistakes are inevitable and it's how I learn. Thanks for reading!