Family and friends are what come to mind.
My trip to Japan is the best example of how grateful I am this year. Because the trip had everything.
In September, my mom, her boyfriend, and I met in Tokyo and traveled for two weeks.
This was the first time we've all been to Japan, and it exceeded all of our expectations.
I felt lucky to spend two weeks with my mom and share many unique experiences. By the end of the two weeks, it felt like we were in Japan for months.
Going to Japan was possible because I had just become a full time freelancer, and I could work remote.
One of the my customer's requirements was for me to attend a daily meeting, which ended up being at 1:30AM in Japan. If was an employee, I would have thought of the meeting as inconvenient and irritating, but I had a different attitude about it.
I was simply excited about the opportunity to work remote, and I thought of the meeting as an opportunity to learn how to coordinate in other timezones. Plus I wanted to prove to my client that there wouldn't be any interruptions in my work. I take the quality of my work seriously, so this was not much of a problem.
With the change of mindset, it was easy to wake up in the middle of the night and take a call.
One of my favorite moments in Japan was when I was working on a train going from Tokyo to Kyoto. I was publishing code to my customer's servers in the the USA while I was traveling 200 miles per hour with Mount Fuji outside my window. It may sound strange, but for me it was a beautiful experience, and something I've thought about for years.
In March, a group of friends stayed with me in Seattle, and I was reminded just how awesome my friends are, and how much I missed them.
Since I moved to Seattle a couple of years ago and even before that, I lost touch with my friends more than I would have liked.
When they visited, it sparked this intense mission to be able to visit with them more.
A large part of the reason I started freelancing full time was to invest in my friends. So far I've taken a couple of trips to LA for this reason, and have even worked on projects with them. I'm looking forward to more of this in 2019.
And finally, I got married this year. I was never into weddings or dreamed about my own wedding, but I thought my wife and I's weddings went a lot better than I imagined. It was great to see all my friends and family there and celebrate with them.
My good friend Nick, happened to be in California for another wedding and he was able to come.
Being married has been great. So far I haven't experienced any of the stereotypical troubles of marriage.
I feel so grateful for where my life is. Thank you friends and family for making it beautiful.